• Academy Awards®

    Best Foreign Language Film Nominee
  • Cannes Film Festival

    Directors’ Fortnight Winner – CIACE Art Cinema Award
  • Macondo Awards

    Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Sound Design, Original Score, Art Direction, Cinematography,
  • Fenix Awards

    Best Director, Original Score, Cinematography, Sound Design
  • Mar Del Plata International Film Festival

    Golden Astor Award for Best Film
  • Film Independent Spirit Awards

    Best International Film Nominee
  • Toronto International Film Festival

  • Sundance Film Festival

  • BFI London Film Festival

Spanish, Portuguese, German, Catalan, Latin, English, Wanano, Vicuna, Huitoto and Cubeo with English subtitles

With Jan Bijvoet, Brionne Davis, Antonio Bolívar Salvador, Nilbio Torres, Yauenkü Miguee

Filmmaker may be available for a Q&A via Skype. Speaker fee: $300. Inquire at FILMCLUB@PRAGDA.COM.


A breathtaking ethnographic odyssey through the heart of the Colombian Amazon, Embrace of the Serpent  is the epic story of the first contact, approach, betrayal and, eventually, friendship, between Karamakate, an amazonian shaman, last survivor of his people, and two scientists that, over the course of 40 years, become the first men to travel the Northwest Amazon in search of a sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant.

With nine different languages spoken during the course of the film, this hypnotic meditation on the beauty of nature and effects of colonialism is presented with an uncommon sense of curiosity rarely seen. The crisp black and white photography captures the extraordinary landscapes with a haunting, almost mythical sense of wonder, while the balance between documentary-style realism and dreamlike mysticism makes for a truly poetic cinematic experience.


“NYT Critic's Pick. Majestic, spellbinding film... Beautiful isn’t a strong enough word to describe it.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“A fairly comprehensive critique of the destruction of indigenous cultures at the hands of white invaders. At once blistering and poetic, not just an ethnographic study but also a striking act of cinematic witness.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“A visually mesmerizing exploration of man, nature and the destructive powers of colonialism.” – Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

“An intense journey and very rewarding visual feast.” – Nathaniel Rogers, The Film Experience

“a legitimate stunner, a river-trip that will mesmerize and jack with you, leaving you not quite certain, at its end, how to go about the rest of your day. The film is beautiful and ferocious, calm and torrential.” – Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

Embrace of the Serpent is simply a work of art, and one of the most singular cinematic experiences you could hope to have...It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.” – Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“Guerra’s stark allegory of the extinction of indigenous cultures at the hands of well-meaning but ignorant white Europeans is powerfully resonant in this gorgeously shot film, touted as the first feature to be shot in the Colombian jungle in over three decades.” – Nicholas Bell, Ioncinema

“An enlightening and thought-provoking film that is also evocative, exotic, and surreal in its primal eloquence, this is highly recommended. ” – Susan Granger, Video Librarian

About the Director
Ciro Guerra was born on Río de Oro (Cesar, Colombia) in 1981 and studied film and television at the National University of Colombia. At the age of 21, after directing four multi-award-winning short films, he wrote and directed La sombra del caminante (The Wandering Shadow), his feature directorial debut, which won awards at the San Sebastian, Toulouse, Mar de Plata, Trieste, Havana, Quito, Cartagena, Santiago, and Warsaw film festivals, and was selected for 60 more, including Tribeca, Locarno, Seoul, Pesaro, Seattle, Hamburg, Kolkata, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, and Guadalajara.

His second feature film, Los viajes del viento (The Wind’s Journeys), was part of the Official Selection – Un Certain Regard of the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. It was released in 17 countries and selected by 90 festivals, including Toronto, Rotterdam, San Sebastián, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, and London, receiving different awards in Cannes, Santa Bárbara, Málaga, Santiago, Bogotá, and Cartagena. It was recently selected in a national critic’s poll as one of the 10 most important Colombian films.

All of Guerra’s feature films to date have been chosen to represent Colombia in the Academy Awards®.

Notes on Film

Whenever I looked at a map of my country,
I was overwhelmed by great uncertainty.
Half of it was an unknown territory, a green sea, of which I knew nothing.
The Amazon, that unfathomable land, which we foolishly reduce to simple concepts. Coke,
drugs, Indians, rivers, war.
Is there really nothing more out there?
Is there not a culture, a history?
Is there not a soul that transcends?
The explorers taught me otherwise.
Those men who left everything, who risked everything, to tell us about a world
we could not imagine.
Those who made first contact,
During one of the most vicious
holocausts man has ever seen.
Can man, through science and art, transcend brutality? Some men did.
The explorers have told their story.The natives haven’t.
This is it.
A land the size of a whole continent, yet untold. Unseen by our own cinema.
That Amazon is lost now.
In the cinema, it can live again.

– Ciro Guerra, Director