Embrace Of The Serpent

OxFilm Oxford, MS


Dr. Prema Balachandran

National Center for Natural Products Research

Embrace of the Serpent— Embracing nature: The power of healing

Dr. Prema Balachandran discusses medicinal plants and their healing effects.

OxFilm Oxford, MS

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. Premalatha "Prema" Balachandran joined Ole Miss 20 years ago in 2002, and serves as a Principal Scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), School of Pharmacy. As a Principal Scientist, Dr. Prema's research interests include biological screening and the discovery of new active drugs from the plants that contribute to human health benefits. She works on several funded projects and her research team filed a patent on an anticancer formulation.