By Donna Darling.
Embrace of the Serpent is an interesting historical insight into Amazonian people and their culture. Inspired by the journals of two explorers, Theodor Koch-Grünberg (Jan Bijvoet) and Richard Evans Schultes (Brionne Davis) we see how the indigenous people lived and how the ‘whites’ effected their lives. Even though years separate the journeys of the 2 explorers, they both desire the same thing from the Amazonian people, and it’s fascinating for us to watch their journey as they try to get what they want.
Looking at the Western world through the eyes of the protagonist Karamakate (played by Antonio Boli’var Salvador when he’s older, Nilbio Torres in his youth) and the tables are turned as the West’s ideals are laughed at and mocked by the natives. Filmed in black and white the film is not lacking in colour in other ways. With the vibrant landscape jumps off the screen as does Karamakate’s unique personality; strong and defiant when he’s younger, wise yet forgetful when he’s older.
Multi award winning writer and director Ciro Guerra chooses to fill the background with the sounds of the Amazon making the viewer feel like they are there on the journey with the explorers. This replaces music throughout the majority of the film and contributes to the atmosphere. Even though the life of the Amazonian people may be alien to us the, basic concepts of friendship and betrayal run throughout Embrace of the Serpent. This is definitely a film to watch and enjoy. Not just for the knowledge it imparts but also for the great entertainment value.
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