Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Embrace of the Serpent - 1 nomination

Foreign Film - Colombia; Directed by Ciro Guerra

Embrace of the Serpent follows Karamakate, an indigenous person in the Amazon rainforest who is enlisted to help a German anthropologist who has fallen ill with a bizarre sickness.  It is rumored that the only thing that can cure him is a special plant called "yakruna," which acts as a metaphor plant representing the natural resources in the jungle. Karamakate is deeply resentful of the white man who has raped the resources of the jungle and brought violence over the rubber trees, and, adding insult to injury, kidnapped indigenous children to "socialize" them to become young Catholics.  

Parallel to this story is another botanist who comes 40 years later and find Karamakate and asks him to help find the yakruna plant.  It becomes clear that this scientist has another agenda, once again representing the deep betrayals that have transpired with the people of the jungle.

It's an excellent film - engaging, challenging, difficult to watch at times.  On balance, one must ask the questions about the good that natural resources can do versus the preservation of culture and being vigilant about removing everything that is in the jungle and the sea to the point of extinction. This film asks those questions brilliantly.

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