Filmed in the Amazonía region of Colombia, “Embrace of the Serpent,” (in Spanish “El abrazo de la serpiente”) is a 2015 internationally co-produced adventure drama directed by Ciro Guerra and shot in black-and-white.
The film tells two stories thirty years apart, both featuring Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his tribe. He travels with two scientists, firstly with German Theo von Martius in 1909 and American named Evan in 1940, to look for a rare plant.
The film won the Art Cinema Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 88th Academy Awards. The Guardian included “Embrace of the Serpent” in its top ten list of best films of 2016, and the film is ranked 2nd in Rotten Tomatoes’ Best-Reviewed Foreign Language Movies 2016 and 23th in the Top 100 Movies of 2016 list.
The New York Times wrote: “Beautiful isn’t a strong enough word to describe its scenes of the heaving waters of the Amazon and its tributaries, on which two explorers, separated by more than 30 years, navigate in canoes, accompanied by a shaman, Karamakate…. In Karamakate’s eyes, the European and American marauders who enslaved and destroyed his tribe are agents of an insane culture devoted to genocidal conquest and rapacious destruction. He finds the concept of money laughable; it is just useless paper. He urges the explorers to throw their luggage overboard. Their possessions are ‘just things,’ he scoffs. To the extent that the film persuades you that he is right, ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ is potentially life-changing.”
“Embrace of the Serpent/El abrazo de la serpiente” is not rated. The film is in Spanish and Amazonian tribal languages, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes.
Showing at: International House
Saturday, April 29
7:30 – 9:30 pm
Admission is FREE
Special thanks to Mint Museum’s CineMint: Latin Film Series, for making this film available.