The Embrace of the Serpent
Directed by Diana Ferro
Winning Best Foreign Language film for 2015, this Colombian film explores the dilemma faced by all indigenous people whether to avoid or help white colonizers.
Entirely in black and white except for the final scenes, the film portrays the efforts of a shaman (and the last surviving member of his people) to help two white scientists escape their narrow three-dimensional view of the world. All traditional European dimensions, including a linear view of time, are challenged.
The plot concerns the scientists’ search in the Amazon rainforest for a miracle healing plant they need to recover from fatal illness.
The film’s theme is best expressed by one of the supporting characters: “If we can’t get the whites to learn, it will be the end of everything.”
The film is based on the diaries of two real life scientists (one German, the other American) helped by indigenous shamans in their search for ayahuasca.*
*Ayahuasa has since been found of benefit in the treatment of heroin addiction, alcoholism and post traumatic stress disorder. See Psychodelics and Plant Medicine
The film can be viewed free on Māori TV for the next two weeks.