Embrace of the Serpent

Ciro Guerra
Running Time
122 mins

The spirit of Herzog and Apocalypse Now-era Coppola looms large over this Oscar-nominated Colombian indictment of colonialism, loosely based on the journals of early 20th century explorers Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes. Stunningly photographed in monochrome, parallel narratives set in 1909 and the 1940s chart the German and American scientists’ respective arduous journeys into the heart of darkness, each guided by Amazonian shaman Karamakate, in search of a psychedelic plant.

It’s fair to say that the message here is a rather familiar one, as arrogant whitey finds he’s bitten off rather more than he can chew and native culture is poisoned by his intervention. The film should certainly find favour with those who prefer spirituality to science, as there are huge dollops of mumbo-jumbo and wigged-out trippiness in store. But it’s also a dazzling, immersive experience if you’re prepared to go with the flow, man. Go here for our full review.

This outdoor screening is a collaboration between the Cube and Grow Wilder. Go here for tickets and further information.

By robin askew, Thursday, Sep 10 2020

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