Embrace Of The Serpent

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Dr. David Farb

Appointed Professor and Chairman, Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Boston University School of Medicine

Embrace of the Serpent— The Science of Psychedelics

A discussion of the scientific topics presented in the film.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

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

Appointed professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at the Boston University School of Medicine in 1990, Dr. David Farb founded and is director of the university-wide National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) training program in Biomolecular Pharmacology. He serves as a member of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Pharmacy Advisory Board as an Expert in Clinical Pharmacology and on the Advisory Board Sub-committee on Abnormal Results. Dr. Farb was also a member of the Drug Development Work Group of Mass Insight, co-author of the Massachusetts Technology Road Map for Drug Discovery, and has served as a consultant for a number of small to large pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and patent litigation companies. As an authority on drug discovery, development, and drug interactions, Dr. Farb is regularly interviewed by local, national, and international media.