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Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

El abrazo de la serpiente (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 25 May 2015 (Colombia)
2:08 | Trailer

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The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of forty years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.


Ciro Guerra


Ciro Guerra, Theodor Koch-Grünberg (based on the diary by) (as Theodor Koch-Grunberg) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 45 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview:
Nilbio Torres ... Young Karamakate
Antonio Bolivar ... Old Karamakate (as Tafillama-Antonio Bolivar Salvador)
Jan Bijvoet ... Theo
Brionne Davis ... Evan
Miguel Dionisio Ramos Miguel Dionisio Ramos ... Manduca (as Yauenkü Miguee)
Luigi Sciamanna Luigi Sciamanna ... Priest Gaspar / El Missionero
Nicolás Cancino Nicolás Cancino ... El Mesias
Pediwake Daniel Martinez Pediwake Daniel Martinez ... Santiago
José Sabogal José Sabogal ... El Siringuero


The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of forty years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Release Date:

25 May 2015 (Colombia) See more »

Also Known As:

Embrace of the Serpent See more »

Filming Locations:

Vaupés, Colombia See more »


Box Office


$1,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$50,955, 21 February 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The music Evan plays on the gramophone is Haydn's "The Creation". See more »


Old Karamakate: To become warriors, the cohiuanos must abandon all and go alone to the jungle, guided only by their dreams. In this journey, he has to find out, in solitude and silence, who he really is. He must become a wanderer dream. Many are lost, and some never return. But those who return they are ready to face what is to come.
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Embrace Of The Serpent
(Theme from Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
by Nascuy Linares
© 2016 Plaza Mayor Company, Ltd.
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User Reviews

Magical and memorable film based on a true story , well shot and magnificently photographed
21 March 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Interesting look at the lifestyle of the Amazon people in the vanishing jungle where a shaman deals with two diverse characters , being first Colombian film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film . The amazing story of the relationship between Karamakate (Nilbio Torres -Young Karamakate-, Antonio Bolívar -Old Karamakate- and all the natives of the film are natural actors) and two scientists who seek a magic plant , Theo (Jan Bijvoet) and Evan (Brionne Davis) . As decades apart , an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people , and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing flower . It's based on two true stories, linked together by one remarkable man and , perhaps, the most famous, celebrated river in the world, the Amazon . And the man is Karamakate, the last shaman of his jungle tribe . We first meet him in 1940 , deep into his sixties as played by Antonio Bolivar, when he encounters a man foreign to his home, an American scientist Richard Evans Schultes (Brionne Davis) . The rain forest of the Amazon are disappearing at the rate of 5000 acres day . Four million Indians once lives there , nowadays 120.000 remain .

Embrace Of The Serpent is one such cinematic experience which brought a deserved Academy Award Nomination . Ecological thriller that has in highlighting the destruction of the South American rain woods by the rubbers ; being based upon a real story , on diaries by scientists Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evan Schultes , both of whom delve into the Amazonian rainforest in search of a rare plant with medicinal and hallucinatory qualities, with the assistance of a local shaman on opposite ends of his own life journey . An ecological adventure with mystical touches that was ahead of its time in denounce about forest destruction , including some disconcerting scenes , as the frames where a man is praised to be the Messiah is based on an actual event . Embrace of the Serpent attempts to frame the destruction of the rain forest's ecology and peoples as a slow-motion tragedy on scales both personal and cultural , but it is more intriguing in its ambitions, which frustrate it, than in it successes, which are limited . This exciting film contains thrills , emotion , adventure and marvelous scenes from deep rainy forest that generate a lot of surprises and illusion . This film has got some images "stuck in their head" including several sequences can stay in your brain for a long, long while .

Glamorous and lush cinematography by David Gallego who photographs wonderfully the Amazon jungle , obviously filmed under difficult conditions on location . Shot in black-and-white, which is at once visually distinctive but also rather flattening . Evocative musical score by Nascuy Linares and the music Evan plays on the gramophone is Haydn's "The Creation". This engrossing and enjoyable film with interesting screenplay by Ciro Guerra and Jacques Toulemonde Vidal was well directed by Ciro Guerra . He's a good professional filmmaking giving various Colombian successes such as Los Viajes Del Viento (2009) and La Sombra Del Caminante (2004) . Rating "Embrace of the Serpent" : Better than average . Wholesome watching .

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