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Embrace of the Serpent 2015

Embrace of the Serpent | El abrazo de la serpiente

Embrace of the Serpent-El abrazo de la serpiente
Embrace of the Serpent-El abrazo de la serpiente

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One river. Two worlds.

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About the Embrace of the Serpent 💬

"Before he can become a warrior a man has to leave everything behind and go into the jungle guided only by his dreams. In that journey, he has to discover completely alone, who he really is. Some get lost and never come back"

At once blistering and poetic, the ravages of colonialism cast a dark shadow over the South American landscape in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, the third feature by Ciro Guerra. Filmed in black-and-white, SERPENT centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him.

The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant.


Whenever I looked at a map of my country, I was overwhelmed by great uncertainty.
Half of it was an unknown territory, a green sea, of which I knew nothing.
The Amazon, that unfathomable land, which we foolishly reduce to simple concepts. Coke, drugs, Indians, rivers, war.

Is there really nothing more out there? Is there not a culture, a history?
Is there not a soul that transcends?

The explorers taught me otherwise.

Those men who left everything, who risked everything, to tell us about a world we could not imagine. Those who made the first contact, During one of the most vicious holocausts man has ever seen. Can man, through science and art, transcend brutality? Some men did.

The explorers have told their stories. The natives haven't.

This is it. A land the size of a whole continent, yet untold. Unseen by our own cinema.

That Amazon is lost now. In the cinema, it can live again.

Ciro Guerra


AYUMPARI: Cohiuano salute. Its translation is "present."

CAAPI: Creeping vine of great hallucinogen power. Its preparation includes mixtures of other plants for greater effect.

CABOCLO: Name given to "acculturated" natives who work for the whites. The literal translation of the word is "traitor."

CAUCHERO: Name given to settlers dedicated to the exploitation of Amazonian rubber.

CHIRICASPI: Medicinal and hallucinogen plant, occasionally used by the shamans and payés of the Amazon.

CHORRERA: Rubber collection center in the Colombian Amazon. Ceded by the Colombian government to rubber barons in the early twentieth century, it was the place where some of the most heinous crimes committed by the caucheros against the Indians took place. It served intermittently as a Capuchin mission and as a military barrack during the war with Peru, and was later abandoned for decades. Today it is a center for the memory of the Rubber Holocaust.

CHULLACHAQUI: Mythological figure of the Amazon. Hollow, empty copy of a human being who roams the jungle waiting to find someone to deceive. Every human being in the world has a chullachaqui, who is exactly like them in appearance, but completely hollow inside.

COCA: Sacred plant of the indigenous natives of South and Central America. Valued since ancient times for its ability to alleviate hunger and fatigue, as well as its spiritual properties.

COHIUANO: Extinct Amazonian tribe, exterminated by the rubber barons.

KASCHIRÍ: Fermented mandioca liquor.

MALOCA: Large communal longhouse, traditional for Amazonian communities.

MAMBE: Mixture of coca leaves, minced to a fine powder, and ashes of leaves of yarumo, a plant that activates and empowers the energetic and nutritional properties of the coca leaf.

PAYÉ: Spiritual guide and religious leader of Amazonian communities, keeper of ancestral tradition, scientist and medicine man expert in plants.

SIRINGUERO: Name given to natives and mestizos enslaved by rubber barons, forced to work in the rubber plantations, bleeding trees in subhuman conditions throughout their whole lives.

VIRAKOCHA: Indigenous deity of great power. Some Amazonian communities used this name to refer to European invaders.

VIROLA: Jungle bush whose cortex is rich in hallucinogenic alkaloids. Frequently used as a mixture with caapi to produce visions of the spiritual world.

YAKRUNA: Hallucinogen vine, epiphyte of the rubber tree. The sap of trees on which it grows is of higher purity.

YARUMO: Large tree whose leaves possess medicinal properties.

Embrace of the Serpent Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Ciro Guerra

Writing Credits

Ciro Guerra and Jacques Toulemonde Vidal (Screenplay)

Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes (Based on the diary by)


Jan Bijvoet

Brionne Davis

Antonio Bolívar

Nilbio Torres

Miguel Dionisio Ramos

Music by

Nascuy Linares

Cinematography by

David Gallego

Category: Oscars, Oscar Academy Award Nominee

Genres: Adventure, Drama

Countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina

Embrace of the Serpent Official Trailer

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