W: Ciro Guerra & Jacques Toulemonde Vidal [based on the
diaries of Theodor Koch-Grunberg & Richard Evans Schultes]
DP: David Gallego
Ed: Etienne Boussac
Mus: Nascuy Linares
Nilbio Torres (Young Karamakate), Antonio Bolivar (Old
Karamakate), Jan Bijvoet (Theo), Brionne Davis (Evan), Luigi Sciamanna (Gaspar)
Embrace Of The Serpent details the adventures of two journeys
through the Amazon, both of them thirty years apart, the first set in the early 20th Century and the second around the 1940's.
Karamakate, the last tribesman of his people, reluctantly
agrees to guide a German scientist and his companion, once a local of the area, to the whereabouts of a sacred healing plant, but upon the journey, Karamakate sees the detrimental effects that
westernisation has had on the rainforest, both with the harvest of rubber and other crops & the dwindling numbers of the indigenous.
The second part of the story sees the same journey take place
when Karamakate is a much older man, his memory and knowledge fading, guiding an American botanist to the same fabled plant.
The film does a magnificent job in taking the viewer on its
journey, using washed-out black & white photography as it presents South American cultures which can now only be read about in books.
Critically acclaimed, this became the first Colombian-funded
film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
Don't expect Apocalypto (qv), this is far more artful and
subtle with its depictions.