Film Series : Oscilloscope at Ten

Embrace of the Serpent

El abrazo de la serpiente

2016, Ciro Guerra, Colombia, 125 min. With Nilbio Torres, Antonio Bolivar.

Show Times

  • Fri, Feb 16th 2:00pm
  • Mon, Feb 19th 7:45pm

"Majestic, spellbinding...Beautiful isn't a strong enough word to describe its scenes of the heaving waters of the Amazon." — Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Unique and intoxicating, an art movie that grips like a thriller." — Tom Huddleston, Time Out London

An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, and Chicago Reader film critic J.R. Jones's pick for best film of 2016, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT has been compared to APOCALYPSE NOW and AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD for its up-the-river-and-down-the-rabbit-hole trajectory, but Guerra's jungle odyssey has its own culturally and stylistically specific take on the spectacle of invasive whiteness in a darker world. Based on the travel journals of two real-life explorers, the narrative intertwines two different journeys, set thirty years apart and linked by the presence of Karamakate, the shaman of a dying Amazonian tribe. In both cases, he reluctantly helps a white explorer search for a rare plant with curative and hallucinogenic powers. In both cases, the journeys reveal the depredations of western capitalism and religion upon the jungle ecosystem and the doomed tribes that inhabit it. With its stunning black-and-white location photography and its mind-blowing climax (which rivals that of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, albeit on a much cheaper budget), EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT is a big-screen must. In Spanish and Amazonian tribal languages with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)


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