Archive for the ‘Columbia’ Category

In an attempt to escape the madness of this world, watching Columbian arthouse favorite El Abrazo De La Serpiente looked like the best possible solution. A botanical scientist is following a trail in the Columbian amazone to find a rare and powerful healing plant. He gets the help from an older shaman, who – decades before – escorted a German explorer along the same trail. The movie switches back and forth between the two journeys.

The synopsis is exciting, the trailer look promising, the recommendations and ratings on movie websites are a big draw… but in the end, it kind of disappoints. It starts off great. The first half of the movie is excellent. The jungle looks stunning (even in back & white) and the (non professional) performances of both the younger and the older indigenous healer are fascinating. But then the movie becomes a hotchpotch of all kinds of things that don’t make any sense. Sure it’s poetic and filled with symbolism, but it’s like the story grabs you tight for the first hour and then drops you in a mess, which you have to figure out yourself. That can be fine for some, but not if you’re in a mood to just escape the madness of this world.

Not sure how a Flemish actor like Jan Bijvoet got cast as a German doctor in a Columbian movie, but he’s actually pretty good.

The billboard poster draws your attention. An impressive blatino fisherman sits in a boat and looks you stern in the eyes while floating down a jungle river. The synopsis in the cinema brochure intrigues even more. Two brothers accept a drug smuggling job off the Caribbean coast of Columbia. If that doesn’t make you buy the ticket yet, then watching the trailer will.

And then the journey to unknown territory starts. Have you ever seen black Columbians star in a well produced movie feature? Have you ever learned about the drug smuggling tactics along the coastal borders? Have you ever watched a motor chase on a deserted railroad in the jungle? Then this is for you!

Sure, it’s a debut movie and not all is great. The acting is done by non-professionals which in the case of Jarlin Javier Martinez is amazing, but kind of sucks when others appear on screen. The dialogue (about guns, racism and soccer) gets annoying quite easily. The abrupt end is okay, but abrupt. However, there’s more to admire than to dislike. It’s all inspired by other movie classics from the past, but mixed in an original new setting.