Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente)



Century Cinema, Corte Madera Wed, Oct 14, 2015 8:45 PM
Rafael 1 Sat, Oct 17, 2015 2:00 PM
Film Info
Section:World Cinema
Running Time:125 min
Language:Amazonian Languages (Cubeo
Director:Ciro Guerra
Producer:Cristina Gallego
Screenwriter:Ciro Guerra
Jacques Toulemonde
Cinematographer:David Gallego
Editor:Etienne Boussac
Cristina Gallego
Cast:Nilbio Torres
Antonio Bolívar
Yauenkü Miguee
Jan Bijvoet
Brionne Davis
Print Source:Oscilloscope
Note Writer:Carol Harada


This urgent tale startles in lush black and white. Karamakate, “the world mover,” is a lone shaman, the last of the Cohiuano people living in harmony with the rainforest. On two separate occasions 40 years apart, he’s summoned to help a white man heal his soul sickness, his lack of dreaming. Despite the incursion of missionaries and rubber robber barons, he attempts to reassert traditional ways. The winner of the 2015 top prize at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, Embrace of the Serpent’s crosscutting stories are based on the travel diaries of Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes. In 1909, Karamakate attends to deathly ill German ethnographer Theo and accompanies him into the Amazonian heart of darkness in search of a fabled sacred medicine plant. Decades later, ethnobotanist Evan seeks the same plant with an older, less assured Karamakate. As colonialism cuts even deeper than before, will they be saved? Will we?

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Additional Information

Ciro Guerra was born in Colombia in 1981 and studied film and television at the National University of Colombia. At the age of 21, after directing four award-winning short films, he wrote and directed La Sombra del Caminante (The Wandering Shadows) (2004), his feature directorial debut, which won awards at the San Sebastian, Toulouse, Mar de Plata, Trieste, Havana, Quito, Cartagena, Santiago, and Warsaw film festivals. His second feature film, Los Viajes del Viento (The Wind Journeys) (2009) was released in 17 countries, selected for 90 festivals, and received awards in Cannes, Santa Bárbara, Málaga, Santiago, Bogotá, and Cartagena. It was recently selected in a national critic’s poll as one of the top 10 most important Colombian films in history. Both films were chosen to represent Colombia in the Academy Awards. Embrace of the Serpent is his third feature film.