Embrace of the Serpent (12A)
2015 ( Colombia | Venezuela | Argentina ) ( Adventure, Drama)
(Spanish, Portuguese and German with English subtitles)
STARRING: Nilbio Torres, Jan Bijvoet, Antonio Bolivar
DIRECTOR: Ciro Guerra
Young Colombian director Guerra’s visionary and wildly ambitious film seems like a movie from another era. Spectacularly shot in black and white (with just a brief explosion of colour late on), it follows two different expeditions down river by European ethnographers many years apart but with the same shaman in tow. It is based on the real journals of two 20th-century explorers, Theodor Koch-Grünberg and later Richard Evans Schultes. Both travelled through the Colombian Amazon searching for the medicinal and psychedelic yakruna plant, a scientific interest compromised by the west’s exploitative greed for the rubber to be extracted there.
Embrace of the Serpent is a breathtakingly gorgeous Oscar-nominated drama. It is both gripping and absorbing as it caresses your eyes with its visuals and bangs you over the head with its message.