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‘Embrace of the Serpent’ Director Leans Into the Complexities of His Story

Director Ciro Guerra talks to Moveable Fest about taking on the challenge of shooting in the Colombian Amazon, as well as telling a story about the complex relationship between indigenous people and early explorers.

“It’s a very complex relationship and I’m drawn to stories that cannot be summed up as good versus evil, but show the complexity of life and relationships,” says Guerra. “This was a moment in which for the first time, thanks to the work of these explorers, the native people of the Amazon were seen as human. Before that, they were seen as subhuman and their traditional knowledge was reduced to superstition or folklore, [with the idea that they] have something to say to the modern man [being] very new and very risky. The film had to be faithful to the true history of the Amazon and this conflict because it’s important for us to see what these people have gone through and what their knowledge has survived.”