Taking an anticipated Cannes Latin American title off the table, prestige Germany-based art film distributor Films Boutique has acquired world sales rights to Directors’ Fortnight entry “Embrace of the Serpent.”
Directed by Ciro Guerra, “Serpent” marks the Colombian auteur’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.
Disney will release “Serpent” in Colombia. Deal was struck by Gabor Greiner and Jean-Christophe Simon at Films Boutique and Cristina Gallego at Ciudad Lunar, who describes Guerra’s film as a “mystery adventure.”
“’Embrace of the Serpent’ is a very high-profile arthouse film with the rhythm and tension of classic adventure movies. The visually stunning black and white photography gives a new dimension to the representation of the ‘green inferno.’ The storyline may be set a century ago, but depicts the most current issues of the timeless battle between nature and culture,” said Jean-Christophe Simon, CEO of Films Boutique.
Billed by production company Ciudad Lunar as the first feature to shoot for 30 years in Colombia’s Amazon, “Embrace of the Serpent” co-stars U.S. actor Brionne Davis (”Savaged”) and Belgium’s Jan Bijvoet (“”Borgman”) in a drama about the encounter, apparent betrayal and finally life-affirming friendship between an Amazonian shaman (the last survivor of his people) and two foreign scientists.
“Embrace of the Serpent” narrates this encounter as much from the POV of the Amazon’s indigenous inhabitants as the outsiders.
Said Gallego: “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.”
Though a fiction feature, “Embrace of the Serpent” 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.
Films Boutique acquires selectively Latin American titles that sometimes go on to both fest plaudits and sales, such as Brazilian Daniel Ribeiro’s Berlin Panorama Fipresci/Teddy winner “The Way He Looks” and Diego Quemada-Diez’s “La jaula de oro,” which took a Cannes Un Certain Regard prize for ensemble acting.