Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

“You guys should watch this. … Just the destruction of those indigenous people, their wisdom. Every time this … ‘native person’ blows something like smoke in the nose of this German researcher—I think it’s something like those hallucinogenic mushrooms, [or] ayahuasca—every time he blows that, it just hits my heart. It’s just so beautiful. But it’s such a sad film, I have to say. You should watch this. One of the best.”

Embrace of the Serpent (Spanish: El abrazo de la serpiente) is a 2015 internationally coproduced adventure drama film directed by Ciro Guerra and written by Guerra and Jacques Toulemonde Vidal. Shot almost entirely in black and white, the film follows two journeys made 30 years apart by the indigenous shaman Karamakate in the Colombian Amazonian jungle. One journey is made with Theo, a German ethnographer, and the other with Evan, an American botanist. Both are searching for the rare plant yakruna. The film was inspired by the travel diaries of Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes, and is dedicated to lost Amazonian cultures.