Ciro Guerre’s breathtaking, Oscar-nominated cinematic odyssey through the Amazon follows the quests of two Western explorers (one in 1909 and the other in the 1940s) in search of a rare flower.

El abrazo de la serpiente
Director: Ciro Guerra
Cast: Nilbio Torres, Antonio Bolivar Salvado Yangiama, Jan Bijvoet, Brionne Davis
Duration: 124 mins
Country of Origin: Colombia/Venezuela/Argentina

MMature themes and violence


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Embrace Of The Serpent

“Majestic. Spellbinding… Beautiful isn’t strong enough a word.”
Stephen Holden, THE NEW YORK TIMES

★★★★1/2
“Something magical. One of the most beautiful films in a long time. Guerra directs the film with great clarity. The river sequences are simply awesome, in the beauty and power of the settings, and in David Gallego’s majestic cinematography. It is a lament for what has been lost in the Amazon, and an eye-opener for what is still there. A major achievement.”
Paul Byrnes, SMH/THE AGE

“A dazzlingly singular vision. Poetic, surreal and ravishing.”
Guy Lodge, VARIETY

★★★★★
“An enthralling, politically-tinged, psychedelic, historical adventure film. Ciro Guerra’s gorgeous picture has that ripped-from-your-dreams sensibility, where surprising turns float alongside a story you feel like you’ve known your whole life. Embrace of the Serpent is the type of film we’re always searching for, yet seems so obvious once we’ve found it.”
Jordan Hoffman, THE GUARDIAN

“A soulful, strange and stunning discovery. Just a few minutes in, the viewer is entirely submerged in this fantastical, quasi-mythical, soul-crushing yet often very funny story. Unfolds with a stunning directorial sureness and a layered intelligence that at times lands an insight so wincingly wise and true it takes your breath away. “Embrace of the Serpent” is simply a work of art: It’s an absorbing, even thrilling head trip. It is a Heart-of-Darkness voyage of discovery. It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.”
Jessica Kiang, THE PLAYLIST

★★★★★
“Astonishing. Guerra’s honest, impassioned, inventive film coils itself around its audience in a transcendent cinematic embrace. There is such vivid life in this film; as real and vibrant as anything I have seen on screen. I was utterly mesmerised, captivated and transported.”
Mark Kermode, THE OBSERVER

“A legitimate stunner in that word’s truest sense, Guerra’s river-trip mesmerizes and jacks with you, leaving you not quite certain, at its end, how to go about the rest of your day. Beautiful and ferocious, calm and torrential… Irresistible. ”
Alan Scherstuhl, THE VILLAGE VOICE

NOMINEE – 2016 ACADEMY AWARDS – Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER – 2015 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL – DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2015 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2015 BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER – 8 x COLOMBIAN OSCARS – incl Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound

One of the best reviewed films of the year, Ciro Guerra’s multi award-winning EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT is a breathtaking cinematic odyssey through the Amazon, following the quests of two Western explorers (one in 1909 and the other in the 1940s) in search of a rare flower alleged to have healing properties.

Inspired by the real-life journals kept by Theodor Koch-Grunberg (portrayed by Jan Bijvoet) and Richard Evans Schultes (Brionne Davis), the film charts each man’s treacherous and life-changing journey. Though decades apart, both are guided through the labyrinthine rivers and jungles by the same native shaman, Karamakate (Nilbio Torres, and later Antonio Bolivar Salvado Yangiama), the last surviving member of his tribe, who takes them deeper and deeper into a heart of darkness…

Recalling such visionary films as Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man and Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT grips with suspense and revelation as it meditates on both the beauty of nature and the devastating impact of colonial interference on native culture. The spectacular widescreen black and white cinematography and evocative sound design combine to depict the landscapes and characters with an hypnotic, mythical sense of wonder.

At once blistering and poetic, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT is truly a one-of-a-kind accomplishment with a power described by several critics as ‘Kubrickian’. It demands to be experienced on the big-screen.

MORE…
Ciro Guerra – One of 10 directors to watch in 2016″ – Variety.

“When someone strips away the indigenous spirituality that’s already there, it creates a vacuum that gets filled with fundamentalism and insanity.” – Ciro Guerra wth The New York Times

Ciro Guerra on his psychedelic film about the colonisation of the Amazon with Vice‘s Camilo Salas.

Ciro Guerra on how Colombia has historically ignored the Amazon and the ways in which his picture inverts the typical jungle flick – Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times.

How a century-old photo inspired Colombia’s 1st Oscar-nominated film.

Listen: The Playlist’s in-depth conversation with Ciro Guerra. It’s not only one of the best films of this year so far, but it also deserves to be projected on a big screen with great sound.

Five Boats on the River: Ciro Guerra on Embrace of the Serpent – Filmmaker Magazine.

Embrace Of The Serpent

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