When it comes to the Academy Awards, there are a few categories that get unanimous acclaim and yet pitiful audience numbers in viewings. Whether it’s short films (guys, it’s super easy to watch short films. The name is in the title,) or documentaries, there is little viewership and pull despite the gold glory. Best Film in a Foreign Language equally provokes miniscule reaction from the general public despite the nominated joy and critical furore.
With a remarkable 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, Embrace of the Serpent – the film that should’ve won the Oscar – is one that should be viewed countless times.
The undeniable transcendent black and white film is the tale of two stories, separated by time, but slither and coil around one another in an enriching and devastating film. The movie revolves around the last Amazonion Shaman, Karamakate, who wishes to tell his story to two foreign scientists as they hunt for a rare and exotic plant to save the life of one, ravished by illness.
Directed by Ciro Guerra and starring, Jan Bijovet, and Brionne Davis as the scientists, and Nilbio Torres and Antonio Bolivar Salvador as the young and old Karamakate respectively, Embrace of the Serpent a powerful awe-inspiring film developed from diary entries and enriched by impeccable cinematic story-telling.
Embrace of the Serpent is stunning – unequivocally. The poetic film is a visceral experience that grips you from the opening credits right to the end. Two hours doesn’t feel enough as Guerra slips into your bloodstream like a snake’s venom and holds each and every one of your blood-cells. The film is a revelation and an event that all must witness. Though drenched in grey aesthetics, the film is still an opulent and sublime visual entity that enters the psychedelic journeys reminiscent Jaramusch’s Dead Man or Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo. Visually engaging, Embrace of the Serpent is dripping with stunning visuals on every beat and with every second.
The character of Karamakate is such a compelling one. The journey that he takes you on with Guerra’s astute direction enhances the viewing experience and makes the story so palpable that it is impossible not to be affected by it. The stirring performances by Salvador and Torres truly mirror and fuse together to produce an unforgettable screen hero that bounds with quiet, brooding emotion, and growth that encroaches and blossoms within the film. Supported by Davis and Bijovet, Embrace of the Serpent is an astonishing union of promising actors and the imagination of their passionate director.
You’ll be hard pushed to find another movie with such finesse and perfection. The whole cinematic outing knows how to silently and gently move you then throw you completely into madness without a single pause. The tender yet brutal thoughts on colonism and the loss of culture bound throughout the film, rolling through your mind long after the credits, themselves, have rolled on. Embrace of the Serpent is an evocative movie experience and one that will stay with you long after viewing.
Make sure you go submerge yourself in this commanding film, give it the audience that it deserves.
EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT IS OUT 10th JUNE