Embrace of the Serpent (2015) – Movie Review

The black-and-white film, sumptuously captured by cinematographer David Gallego, bounces back and forth between two different time periods about 30 years apart, with an older and younger version of the main character, a shaman named Karamakate, to unite them. Part of this is in 1909, where we find German scientist Theodor, along with his native guide Manduca, encountering the young Karamakate. Theo is ailing and needs help finding a possible cure, but Karamakate is reluctant to trust this white man, as the Europeans have come in and virtually erased his tribe, the Cohiuano, away in their exploits to extract rubber from the sap of their trees. He ends up assisting Theo when the visitor reveals that some of his people still exist and that he knows where they are. Decades later we’re introduced to Evan, a biologist from America, who has read Theo’s diary and has sought out an aging and somewhat forlonr Karamakate in order to help him find an ultra-rare and sacred plant called yakruna, long rumored to have great power to heal.