Monday, March 13, 2017

Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

Academy Awards, USA 2016

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Directed by Ciro Guerra
My rating: 3.5 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia
(Blu-ray, Oscilloscope)

A native Amazonian, the last of his tribe, travels with two different scientists, approximately 30 years apart. The first trek is to accompany a German ethnographer, seriously ill, in search of a plant that supposedly has healing powers. The second is with an American botanist, supposedly in search of the same mystical plant. The two stories intertwine almost seamlessly, held together by the younger native who is angry that his tribe has been all but extinguished by the greed of the rubber industry, and his older, wiser self, not so angry but still distrustful. A memorable stop on both trips takes place at a remote Catholic mission, overseen by a sadistic priest who tortures children, then overrun by the same children a quarter of a century later, who have become savages and practice a bastardized Catholicism. Hypnotically filmed in black and white by David Gallego, with the notable exception of a drug-induced animated sequence.

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