Screening Room: ‘Embrace of the Serpent’

'Embrace of the Serpent' (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

In Embrace of the Serpent, the partially real, highly imagined stories of two white explorers in the Amazon rain forest are threaded into a kaleidoscopic journey into the last days of a pre-modern civilization.

Embrace of the Serpent opens in limited release this week. My review is at Film Journal International:

Further research would be needed to prove this theory. But it’s probable that nowhere in the writings of Theodor Koch-Grünberg (1872–1924) and Richard Evans Schultes (1915–2001) would you find evidence of a cultish colony fixated on flagellation and crucifixion. Ciro Guerra’s ambitious bolting together of imagined quests by these two real-life explorers adds a lot of that kind of sinister, quasi-Conradian color, but it’s mostly to positive effect. Even though Embrace of the Serpent’s sometimes violent and frequently otherworldly journey up a jungle-bounded river can’t help but echo Coppola and Herzog, Guerra pursues his own path in striking fashion…

You can see the trailer here:

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