Embrace of the Serpent (2015) Movie Script

"I can not know if the infinite
jungle has begun in me"
the process that drove so many
others to incurable madness.
If this is the case, I can only ask for
your forgiveness and understanding,
for I cannot find the words to express
the beauty and splendor
to which I bore witness
during those magical hours.
"I know only that I
returned a different man."
Theodore of Martius, Amazon, 1909.
- Kobeu?
- Go away.
Go away!
Are you Karamate, the mover of worlds?
What do you want?
I am Manduca, son of
Ribukuri, from Komeilemong.
- I am a river Bara.
- I know the Baras.
They surrendered to the
white man without a fight.
Begone with this devil!
This is Theodor Von Martius,
My friend and travel companion.
He is very sick.
All the shamans have tried to
cure him but have all failed.
We were told you are the
only one who can help us.
I am not like you.
I don't help whites.
He is a wise man, who came to learn.
He will die if you do not help!
Where did you find this?
Drop it!
Where did you find this?
The necklace!
It was a gift from a Cohiuano shaman.
The Cohiuanos no longer exist!
Yes, they do.
I stayed with them a few years ago.
I'm not lying. Some of them live
of the banks of the river Yari.
They are only a few, but they still exist.
The Cohiuanos no longer exist.
You killed them all.
I will not help him.
It's alright, Manduca. It's alright.
It's alright.
Only the Yakruna can save you.
If the Cohiuanos still
exist, they will have some.
Otherwise, you will die.
This plant can cure me?
My people still exist?
The jungle is fragile, and if
you attack, she retaliates.
She will let us pass
only if we show respect.
We must not eat meat or fish
until it rains again
and must ask permission from
the Master of the animals.
We must not cut any buds.
And not make love with a
woman until the new moon.
Do you agree to this?
Theo, you're in no condition to travel.
I will not die here.
Do you agree?
You better be telling the truth.
This remedy will only
alleviate the disease.
It will return with force.
It is true. I have met them.
The Serpent's Embrace.
Can you see me?
40 years ago, this man,
Theodor Von Martius,
came here and wrote about the plant I seek.
I want to know if what he wrote is true.
I have dedicated my life to plants.
You have dedicated your life to plants?
It's the most sensible thing I
have ever heard a white man say.
My name is Evan.
My name was Karamakate.
I went down the river from the
village of the Wanano people.
I'm looking for a plant. The Yakruna.
What plant is this?
I know very little about it.
I am not sure it exists.
I want to study it.
Von Martius described it as a
sacred plant that cures diseases.
It grows on the rubber plant and
increases its purity level.
Is that why you seek it?
Is it mambe?
Do you like our coca?
You want to bring back the Yakruna?
I can pay you, if you help me.
It's a lot of money.
Ants like money.
I do not. It tastes bad.
I have never dreamed.
Neither in my sleep nor awake.
Even the caapi has no effect on me.
The Baras shamans, the
Tukanos, and the Sirianos
all told that only the Yakruna
can help me.
I once dreamed of a white man's spirit.
He was sick
and could only be saved
by learning to dream,
but he could not.
Your dreams, are they worth a lot of money?
Do you know where to find the Yakruna?
Do you have more mambe?
I have a little coca.
What is wrong?
I forgot about the mambe.
Now I do not know how to prepare it.
What do you know about the Yakruna?
Where can it be found?
You are not one man.
You are two.
I want to see the Yakruna.
I will go with you.
Do you know the way?
I do not remember.
Did you do all this?
What do they mean?
I do not know. I do not remember.
These stones used to talk to me.
They would answer my questions.
The line is broken, the memories are gone.
Stones, trees, animals, have fallen silent.
Now there is only the
drawings on the rocks.
Now I am an empty body. A chullachaqui.
This seems a like a drawing of the Yakruna.
These are mountains.
A mountain range.
It is the "Dwelling of the Gods".
It is there, that the Yakruna is.
How could I forget the gifts
of the Gods?
I have forgotten how to prepare mambe.
What has become of me?
We have too much weight.
We need to get rid of the boxes.
No, they are mine. I need them.
They will sink us. Throw them out.
All these things are useful.
Look, if you want.
It's not him. It's his chullachaqui.
It looks like him. But it isn't.
It's a photo.
The same happened to us. We
turned into Chullachaquis.
Have you met him?
Do you know how he is?
Is he old like me?
he died in this jungle.
He never returned from his expedition.
How did he give you this?
Manduca, his traveling companion,
sent his notes and letters to Germany.
They were published there.
Manduca, what do we have
to exchange for food?
Very little.
Are you alright?
Are you better?
Did you find the mover of worlds?
His name is Karamakate.
He has agreed to help.
I must respect the prohibitions.
You need strength to travel. You can eat.
Can I?
After Cuduyar, how did I get to Yari?
By following the Uraricoera
river to Rio Igara.
What star is that?
That which is visible at sunset there.
Over there?
What is it?
A compass.
It always points
to the star Auakaruna.
The needle is attracted by the
magnetic field of the Earth.
It always points to where the
Earth's energy indicates.
- Theo, sing your song!
- No! Not again!
Manduca, I will not sing alone.
Sing with me!
Who are you?
How can you live alone
in a jungle like this?
do you have the compass?
Did you forget it at the village?
Did one of you take my compass?
Give it back.
Give it back, thieves!
Which one of you took it? Give it back.
Leave it, Theo.
I will not leave a compass here, Manduca.
Tuschaua, tell them to give back.
Please Tuschaua, I need it.
I will not exchange it.
Please return it.
Please Tuschaua, I need it.
Come on.
I told you, I cannot leave my compass here.
What is it?
You're like the other whites.
They orient themselves based
on the wind and stars.
If they learn to use a compass,
this knowledge will be lost.
You can not forbid them to learn.
Knowledge belongs to all.
You are white, you do not understand.
All right?
Leave it all.
They are just things.
Why do white me love their things so?
There are not just things.
They are my only connection to
my people in Germany, my city,
my wife, my children. These boxes contain
all the knowledge gathered
in four years of travel.
I must return with them, or...
no one will believe me. To leave
them is to leave everything.
You are crazy.
I know.
The Caucheros (rubber
barons) have marked you?
Yes, but now I'm a free man.
It was here that the anaconda
came down from the Milky Way.
Bringing your ancestors, the karipulakenas?
Damn rubber!
What is he saying?
He is asking you to kill him.
You brought a gun?
- Manduca, what are you doing?
- Manduca, stop!
Manduca, you can not do this.
If I do not, they will
torture him to death.
Do not do it, Manduca.
Do not do it!
- Manduca, no.
- No one deserves this hell.
Stop! Manduca stop!
Manduca, no!
Should we go?
I will not go on.
You can not trust whites.
Neither can I trust you.
What do we do then?
Is this your knowledge? Guns?
The white man's science only leads violence
and death.
That is not true.
What else are you going to steal? Coca?
Quinine? Rubber?
Do you want to steal the Yakruna?
Turn it into death?
Do not talk to him like that.
He has done more for our people than you.
Ad you! Look at your white man's clothes!
How could you let them transform you so?
You think like them.
Which side are you on? You are a mestizo.
No one is more loyal than Manduca.
He never failed to defend his people.
What did you do?
He you live alone like a crazy
fool, away from the world.
I don't steal.
Look here!
This is my knowledge.
You also try to understand the world.
You also tell stories.
I have to take them to
my wife, to my people.
This is not death, it is life.
This is my music.
What is this?
A drawing I made.
Where did you see that?
A dream.
A caapi dream?
No. They never let me drink caapi.
I saw it in a dream.
I'm not a mestizo.
If these Caucheros are men,
I would rather be a snake.
Is that a fire?
No, it is Peruvians.
We must talk to the caapi master.
Only he can explain.
What do you mean?
I dreamt of your drawing.
Nothing is impossible for him.
Do you feel ready to drink?
Can I?
Drink without fear.
It has cleansed you inside.
You can drink again.
You need to relax.
I don't want to die.
Why did the caapi master not talk to me?
I do not know. It has
never happened before.
What did you see?
The master showed me a jaguar.
He told me that Watoma turned into
a boa when he touched the ground.
The boa was given a mission.
What mission?
To kill you.
This boa is my disease?
No, it's something else.
If the master caapi did
not want to talk to me,
can the Yakruna still save me?
You don't know how to listen.
I will have to teach you.
Did the jaguar say something about me?
It asked me to protect you.
Last night, at last, I had the opportunity
to understand the vision I had in Germany,
lying beside you, many years ago.
Finally I could understand
why I imagined a jaguar.
But despite my efforts
and my determination,
the effects of the caapi
remained totally foreign to me.
I feel that I have failed, my love.
I will be forced to accept
that my colleagues were right
in criticizing my trip.
I fear that I distanced myself from you
only to die thousands of
kilometers from our home.
I can only hope that this
disease is but the effect of
the nostalgia I feel when I think of you.
I beg you to forgive me
these dark expressions.
But I hope as well, my love...
You find in my honesty
another proof of my affection...
Do you understand what I am saying?
No, but it seems like you're about to cry.
He is writing to his wife.
I am expressing my affection to her.
To a woman? Before or after crying?
You do not understand.
When you return, will express you
express your affection to me too?
What are you doing?
I'll put it away.
But it's me.
No, it is not you. It's an image.
Like a chullachaqui?
A what? A chullachaqui?
A chullachaqui.
We all have one,
it resembles us, but it is empty, hollow.
This is remembrance of a time passed.
A chullachaqui has no memory.
He just wanders around the world,
empty, like a ghost, lost
in a time without time.
Will you show my
Chullachaqui to your people?
Only if you allow me.
The necklace is part of you.
It can not be given.
Keep the paddle closer to the boat.
Listen. The river tells you when to paddle.
Like this?
Why did you not look for your people?
The Colombian killed them all.
Did you ever go back and see?
I was a child.
How did you survive?
Another rubber plantation?
No more.
It says here it's a mission.
Let's stop and get food.
No. Let's go on.
I know this place.
Do we have much food left?
We will stop then.
Hi, little brother.
What is your name?
That is not your name! We
should not speak that language.
My name is Jeremiah.
Where are the priests?
Go! Go!
We do not have rubber!
We do not want rubber.
What do you want?
My name is Theodore Von Martius.
I am an ethnographer from
the University of Tubingen
and the Museum of Stuttgart, Germany.
These are Manduca and Karamakate,
my traveling companions.
What do you want?
We are on an expedition
and we need food to continue our trip.
Fruits, Cassava, whatever.
I do not care! Go away.
We can negotiate, I have money. I can pay.
Go away!
Let's go.
What did he say?
That demon languages
are not allowed here.
"If you judge me to be
faithful to the Lord,
come to my house and stay."
Calm yourself. We can not
continue without food.
You are a Capuchin, right?
Please help us.
We will respect your rules.
We will only speak Spanish.
We are men of science.
As St. Thomas Aquinas.
"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing
some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,"
for by so doing some people
have shown hospitality...
shown hospitality to angels
"without knowing it."
I doubt that you are angels,
but it is not for me to
refuse in the house of God.
Welcome to St. Anthony of
Padua Mission in Vaups.
It is forbidden to eat fish
before the rain comes.
How long have you been here?
I came after the massacre of the Peruvians.
It is almost 10 years now.
Have you been alone all this time?
Brother Marcellin and the
other brothers of the order
went looking for new disciples
two years ago and never returned.
Did you not see them down the river?
Do you only steal men?
We have a sacred mission.
We rescue the war orphans,
we save their souls
and keep them away from
cannibalism and ignorance.
Give me a pan.
I know how it is here.
The whites are crazy.
Come, have no fear.
Look. This is Chiricaspi (plant).
A gift from the gods to our
ancestors the Karipulakenas.
We received the semen of the
Sun when Yeba, his daughter,
rubbed his penis and planted
the semen in the dust.
We do the same with the
plant before boiling it.
Help me.
This is the best defense we
have against the disease.
It will help you survive.
When the Caucheros razed my village,
the priests took me in as well.
My people did not surrender.
They fought.
You must do the same.
Do not believe these madmen
that eat the bodies of their gods.
They give you food,
but do not respect the prohibitions.
One day they will end
by killing the jungle.
You are still young, the
jungle will forgive you.
The caapi master will guide you.
Every plant, every tree, every
flower is full of wisdom.
Never forget who you are
and where you came from.
Don't let your music fade.
Don't touch me!
You brought the devil into our community!
You have perverted the innocent!
We have to go.
We have to take them.
It's impossible.
They will kill them.
We can not feed them.
I don't know. You are the guide.
You could help me.
You will not find anything there.
Are you interested in rubber?
I've never seen this species.
Rubber is death. This
is why you seek it, no?
You're two men.
What do you mean?
Why do you insist on coming with
me if you will not help me?
I remembered.
Where we can find the Yakruna?
I remembered something, but
do not know what it means.
Maybe that I'm not a chullachaqui.
Did you find the way?
To the right.
We will find what you are looking for.
Let us go back!
We can not.
They are already here.
I know this place.
The Messiah will not receive visitors.
We do not want to see him.
We just want to follow our path.
It is not possible.
The Eden of our community
depends on it remaining secret.
We will not tell anyone.
Show me what you have there.
Is it a gift?
Are you the Wise Men
arrived from the Orient?
But I only see two of you,
Balthazar and Melchior.
Where is Caspar?
He was lost along the way.
He was invited to commit suicide.
His betrayal
caused the disease that
afflicts our community.
Today I will not perform miracles!
Are you the Wise Men
arrived from the Orient?
We are scientists
searching for sacred plants.
Sacred plants?
There is but one thing sacred
in this jungle, and that it me!
Cure her.
They need to take her to a hospital.
She has leishmaniasis (parasitic disease). There is no cure.
The Messiah is in a bad mood today.
But... his wife is ill,
I would feel the same.
I hope it works out.
I would not want you to be
invited to commit suicide.
This is madness.
Don't you care?
No, something went wrong.
Now they have become...
the worst of both worlds.
Praise the Lord.
Take and drink.
This is the cup of my blood,
the new and eternal covenant.
Shut your mouth!
Oh, Holy Magi,
who have come from the Orient
who have found the way to Bethlehem.
Bless our drink!
He has healed my wife,
and now he will us heal all!
Let us celebrate brothers this day of joy!
I can not drink from the same
glass as the Son of God.
The son of God?
The son of God! I am the Messiah,
the Redeemer of the Indians!
The son of God, Agnus Dei!
Eat me! Eat me!
Eat me!
Everyone, eat me! Eat me!
Eat the body of the Lord!
We have too much weight.
What are you doing?
Stop bothering me!
What is your problem with these boxes?
Your things will only lead
you to madness and death.
What are you talking about?
You poisoned them!
I have poisoned no one.
I just gave them something
so they can think better.
They are Makus. They aren't
descendants of the Anaconda.
They are less than humans.
You speak like a Cauchero.
You are worse than them. You lie to me.
You remember much more but do not tell me.
Do not go.
I still feel like a chullachaqui.
But I'm starting to remember,
the knowledge I was to convey to my people.
But the Caucheros and Colombians came,
and I was left alone.
I must remember.
I must preserve the music of the Cohiuanos.
Will you show me the way?
I don't know it. It is for you to find out.
Throw away your luggage.
Show me that box.
I will not let you throw it away.
Show it to me.
What is it?
This music comforts my solitude.
It takes me to my father's house
in Boston, to my ancestors.
To become a warrior,
a Cohiuano must abandon everything
and go alone into the jungle,
guided only by their dreams.
In this journey, he must find out,
in solitude and silence, who he truly is.
He must become a wanderer of dreams.
Some are lost, and others never return.
But those who return
are ready to face whatever is to come.
Where are they?
Where are the songs of mothers
comforting their babies?
Where are the stories of the elders,
the whispers of love, the battle cries?
Where did they go?
You dreamt?
Tell me what you dreamt of.
I did not dream of anything.
You're lying. You saw
the eyes of the jaguar.
I'm telling you no!
You are afraid to admit it,
but you must listen.
Dreaming does not scare me.
What scares me is dying in this hell.
You're driving me crazy
with your dreams, your
prohibitions and your shit.
Stop it. You can not
fish without permission!
Permission from whom?
From you?
The lord of the fish?
Because of your shit
prohibitions I am still sick!
Calm, Theo, you're delusional!
Let me go!
Do you want to kill me too?
Let go of the spear.
The river is full of fish!
One less won't change anything!
Why are you helping him?
Have you forgotten what they did to you?
He was not to blame. He
repaid my debt to a Cauchero.
And you became his slave.
I'm the slave of no one.
He can teach the whites.
How can they learn if they
do not respect the jungle?
He's scared, but he can learn.
To his people he is a hero.
They listen to him.
If we can not educate the
whites, it will be our end.
The end of everything.
Kariauatinga, are you okay?
The whites are incredible!
They eat until they explode!
You have to learn to control yourself.
You will destroy everything!
How do you feel?
Give me some Sun sperm.
You must help him. Do not be so spiteful.
His body is unclean again. It
would be like giving him poison.
We must come soon to my people
and ask the Yakruna to forgive him.
We are close to your village.
Eat, tomorrow you will feel better.
The Cohiuanos live here.
To the left.
Do not move!
Are you Colombians?
I don't know.
Get out of here!
Sirg has arrived.
Drink some Yakruna.
A toast to the end of the world!
How can you allow this?
The Yakruna should not be cultivated.
The signs were clear but
understood the opposite.
You are good!
You are the serpent!
Calm down.
Give it back.
You do not deserve this!
You are white. You bring
hell and death to the earth!
The Colombians are coming!
The Colombians are coming!
Here is the Yakruna!
The greatest knowledge of
what was once my people!
I will not let you take it.
The Colombians are coming!
What story does the music tell?
How God created the world.
The way is in the music. Listen.
It is beautiful,
but it's just a story.
You are mistaken. It's not a story.
It is a dream. Let it guide you.
I am a man of science, of facts.
I will not be guided by
dreams that I don't have.
But you do.
How many banks does this river have?
How do you know that?
This one and the other.
One plus one equals two.
How do you know that?
Because it's like this!
One plus one equals two.
You are wrong.
This river has three,
five, a thousand banks.
Children understand. You do not.
The river is the son of anaconda.
It's clear in our dreams, it's real,
more real than what you call "real".
What do you see?
The world is so immense.
But you choose to see just that.
The world speaks. I know how to listen.
Listen to the music of your ancestors.
The answer is there.
Truly listen. Not only with your ears.
Will you give me a bit?
I will not give you
anything until you hear.
Will you give me a bit of caapi?
Caapi will not help if
you refuse to believe.
Help me.
I can do no more.
In which direction?
How do you know?
I know.
I believe.
Is it the Dwelling of the Gods?
We had to come here.
It is ready.
What are you doing?
Don't damage it. We need to save it.
We need to turn into caapi.
It is the last root of Yakruna the world.
You should join her.
How do you know that?
I destroyed all the others.
It is our last hope.
It is my gift to you.
I did not come all the way here for that.
Yes, you did.
I said no.
There is a war going on out there.
My people need quality rubber to win it.
I need to take it with me.
You lied to me again?
You want to turn the Yakruna
into a weapon? Into death?
Give it to me.
Kill me! I do not care.
It is my fate to die,
but the Yakruna will die with me.
You are also a chullachaqui,
and you will be one forever.
Take of your shirt.
Show me your back.
This is the Medora Caapi,
the most powerful of all.
It existed before creation,
before the serpent came down.
It will take you to see it.
It is huge, frightening,
but don't be afraid.
You have to let her hug.
Her hug will take you to ancient sites,
where even the embryo
of life does not exist.
I tried to kill you.
I do not deserve this.
I also killed you.
Before, in the time without
time, 40 years ago, 100 years,
or even millions of years.
But you came back.
It was not my people I
was supposed to teach,
It was you.
Give them more than they asked for.
Give them a song.
Tell them everything you
see, everything you feel.
Return as a whole man.
You are a Cohiuano.
This movie was inspired
by the travel diaries of:
There are the only known testimonies
of various Amazonian cultures.
This film is dedicated to the people
whose song we will never know.