Embrace Of The Serpent

Film Streams Omaha, NE


Dr. Soonjo Hwang



Dr. Timi Barone

Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Omaha

moderated by

Dr. Howard Liu

Director, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska

Embrace of the Serpent— Investigating the Cultures of the Amazon

A discussion of the major themes presented in the film.

Film Streams Omaha, NE

Film Synopsis

The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.

The film tells two stories, taking place in 1909 and 1940, both starring Karamakate (played as a young man by Nilbio Torres and as an older man by Antonio Bolivar) an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his tribe. He travels with two scientists, German Theodor Koch-Grunberg (Jan Bijvoet) and American Richard Evans Schultes (Brionne Davis), to look for the rare yakruna, a sacred plant. The film is loosely inspired by the diaries written by the two scientists during their field work in the Amazon. Embrace of the Serpent won the Art Cinema Award in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and it was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

About the Speaker

Dr. Soonjo Hwang specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry, especially pediatric population with disruptive mood and behavior disorders. He is a neuroscience researcher specializing in neuro-image and clinical trials. Dr. Hwang is a board member of the institutional review board of University of Nebraska Medical Center. For his clinical research, he collaborates nationally and internationally, at such places as Boys Town National Research Hospital, the Department of Education in South Korea, the University of California San Francisco, and the National Institute of Mental Health. He received his MD from the Yonsei University College of Medicine.

Dr. Timi Barone
is an associate professor of anthropology with a specialization in medical anthropology at the University of Omaha. Her primary research interests are in the biocultural basis of health and barriers to health care access/utilization for minority populations. Recent research focuses on the cross-cultural study of sleep and health from the perspective of Darwinian medicine. Dr. Barone is a member of the Women's Studies faculty, Native American Studies faculty, and the Latino/Latin American Studies faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Dr. Howard Liu
is an educator, behavioral health workforce expert, and child psychiatrist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He serves as the director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) and as the director of Faculty Development Programs at UNMC, overseeing career development programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, dentistry, and allied health. Clinically, Dr. Liu has expertise in pediatric mood disorders and maintains a child psychiatry outpatient practice.

Academically, Dr. Liu is interested in the development of innovative programs applying technology and active learning techniques to challenges in health professions education. He led a team of 11 US and Canadian medical schools, which created a free national library of online psychiatry modules, and which has been accessed over 14,000 times in 19 countries. Dr. Liu co-chairs the Training & Education Committee for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and serves as the president of the Nebraska Regional Organization for child psychiatry. He is a recipient of numerous awards including the Outstanding Teacher Award from the UNMC Faculty Senate and the Innovations Award from the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry (ADMSEP).