El Abrazo de la Serpiente (The Embrace of the Serpent)CultureCinemaMovie reviews
“Dedicated to all the people whose song we’ll never know”, Academy award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film The Embrace of the Serpent paints a picture of raw life amid the Amazonian jungle.
Inspired by real travel diaries, the story revolves around two scientists on the search for the mystical yakruna flower, a plant that has magical healing powers. Their quests happen 40 years apart but are accompanied by the same shaman, Karamakate, the last survivor of his circle. When he guides the first scientist, his goal is to preserve his heritage from the “whites”, but years later, when the second scientist finds him, he has lost all his memories and turned into a chullachaqui, an empty shell, trying to reconnect with his heritage.
The alternating story lines are cleverly put together: young and old are portrayed side by side as they embark on the same journey. The film gives an intimate portrayal of the isolated but also empowering life in the jungle, which comes under scrutiny of the Western thirst for knowledge and the treasures it has to offer.
The Embrace of the Serpent is completely in black and white and subtitled, which turns it into a mix of documentary, adventure and art house film, full of originality. The acting is marvellous throughout and feels authentic, even though the characters are almost stereotypically painted. The scenery is beautifully shot and it is no wonder that the director apologises at the beginning for sometimes getting too absorbed in the beauty of the Amazonian jungle.
El Abrazo de la Serpiente (The Embrace of the Serpent) is released in selected cinemas on 10th June 2016.
Watch the trailer for El Abrazo de la Serpiente (The Embrace of the Serpent) here: