“Embrace of the Serpent” tells two separate but related stories linked by common threads. Based on the diaries of explorers Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evan Schultes, the film follows the exploits of two similar but fictional adventurers, Theo (Jan Bijvoet) and Evan (Brionne Davis), as they make their way into the jungle in search of the rare yakruna plant, a hallucinogenic botanical related to the rubber plant. The shared element linking these two journeys, which take place 40 years apart, is their shamanic guide, Karamakate, who meets his Western companions first as an impassioned, indignant youth (Nilbio Torres) and later as an old man with a failing memory (Antonio Bolívar Salvador). Through their complex, sometimes-contentious, sometimes-enlightening interactions, Karamakate and his companions bring meaning to one another’s lives – and in ways none of them may have anticipated.
Ever wonder how our reality comes into being? It’s a question that’s been pondered for eons by everyone from scholars to the exasperated parents of inquisitive toddlers. But, for those…