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FLICKS: Colliding Dreams, Embrace of the Serpent

Posted on 10 March 2016 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


Colliding Dreams and Embrace of the Serpent are two serious motion pictures that open tomorrow. Both films are thought-provoking and could lead to some serious discussion after viewing.

According to director Oren Rudavsky, the original title for Colliding Dreams was going to be “The Zionist Idea.” This two-hour documentary begins with the Roman repression of the Jews, which sets the stage for nearly 2000 years of persecuted history. The theme of finding a homeland is almost permanently dashed due to Hitler’s genocidal madness.

This film offers a new perspective on the Middle East, a few years before Hitler’s rise to power. We learn about the rise of anti-Semitism in the early 20th Century. Under the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the British Empire promised the Jewish People a homeland. Almost 20 years later under the Arab Revolt, the ever-changing British government bowed to Middle Eastern political pressure and ended their support of a Jewish state.

With generous use of archival footage, the producers interview a wide variety of people — young, old, Jewish and Palestinian. Colliding Dreams is a film for the historically responsible individual.

Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Language Motion Picture, Embrace of the Serpent is the first time the country of Colombia has been so honored. Shot in black and white with English subtitles, this film is a unique piece of digital imagery.

It deals with the loss of the indigenous people of the Amazon. We see two stories told decades apart. The first deals with an ill German, Theo (Jan Bijvoet), who is taken to safety by the Cohiuano tribe. The second features Evan (Brionne Davis), an American biologist whose specialty is botany. Both the German and the American are in search of the yakruna, a sacred healing plant. The central character of both stories is Karamakate, a shaman who sadly watches the extinction of his tribe from colonization.

For all the dire circumstances, this film provides some life-affirming moments. Director Ciro Guerra utilizes some cinematography magic to make Embrace of the Serpent an important motion picture.

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