Dreams and memories intersect in Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra’s drama about a few men—in the present and the past—navigating the snaking Amazon River, in search of a semi-mythical plant. Though a bit slow, the movie conforms to a plot that accentuates cause-and-effect: the men-in-the-past’s actions have a ripple effect on what the men-in-the-present encounter. The minimal score (Nascuy Linares) is used for great effect. Shot in black-and-white against a feral backdrop, Embrace of the Serpent is visually striking and haunting. The titular serpent has a double meaning, making the movie a plaintive requiem for a people and a lifestyle swallowed by a civilizing force.
In Spanish & Portuguese & German & Catalan & Latin.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White