Colombia’s Ciro Guerra Rolls on ‘Embrace of the Serpent’

Colombian Amazon-set pic marks follow-up to Guerra’s Cannes hit, ‘The Wind Journeys’

BOGOTA – U.S. actor Brionne Davis (“Savaged”) and Belgium’s Jan Bijvoet, the lead in Cannes Competition entry “Borgman,” will co-star in “Embrace of the Serpent,” the next film from Colombia’s Ciro Guerra, which goes into production next Monday.

Billed by production company Ciudad Lunar Producciones as the first feature to shoot in 30 years in Colombia’s Amazon, “Embrace” reps Guerra’s follow-up to Cannes 2009 Un Certain Regard hit “The Wind Journeys.” Sold by Paris’ Elle Driver, “Journeys” sparked enthusiastic reviews and went on to bow commercially in 19 countries.

“Awash in scenic vistas,” Variety wrote, “Wind Journeys” is a “beautifully judged two-hander.”

Landscape looks to play inevitably a major role in “Embrace,” which will shoot in Mitu, San Jose del Guaviare and Puerto Inirida. A fiction feature, “Embrace of the Serptent” draws inspiration from the travel journals of German ethnologist Theodor Koch-Grunberg and American Richard Evans Schultes, a celebrated pioneer researcher into indigenous peoples’ use of plants.

Serpent’s” stars are two non-pro actors, Nilbio Torres, from the Cubeo Vaupes people, and Antonio Bolivar, one of the last of the Ocainas.

“The eyes of the world turn to the Amazon because of its natural riches. But beneath all that immense green, there is knowledge, science and a vision of the world which looks for balance,” said producer Cristina Gallego, at Ciudad Lunar.

She added: “There are also stories of blood and pain which led to the extermination of many languages, communities, cultures, beliefs. The Amazon’s history has been so tough for the indigenous inhabitants that their reply has been silence. What really interests us in this film is to give a space and voice to those who have not had one.”

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