Jan Bijvoet: Awesome performance in the Oscar-nominated “Embrace of the Serpent”

The Hollywood Reporter referred to Colombian filmmaker’s Ciro Guerra “”El abrazo de la serpiente,” a.k.a. “Embrace of the Serpent,” as ‘a visually mesmerizing exploration of man, nature and the destructive powers of colonialism.’ The other leading U.S. trade paper Variety referred to the film as ‘at once blistering and poetic, not just an ethnographic study but also a striking act of cinematic witness…’ while the British paper The Guardian concluded by saying that ‘it’s the type of film we’re always searching for.’

Film poster embrace of the serpentNominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign-Language category during the latest Oscar ceremonies, “Embrace of the Serpent” is a highly respected feature film that gained recognition worldwide, winning numerous awards in various countries (including the Art Cinema Award in the Director’s Fortnight section at last year’s Cannes Film Festival), and is about to be released in all territories.

Like Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” (1982) and Roland Joffé’s “The Mission” (1986), both shot in South America’s rain forests as well, Mr. Guerra’s drama also indicates that it’s no fun shooting a film on location down there, since ‘you have to give yourself over to the Amazon, which is the philosophy of the film.’ While “Embrace of the Serpent” is only his third production, it took him four years to finish a film that has become a masterpiece in its own right in less than no time.

Belgian stage, television, and since a few years now highly respected international screen actor Jan Bijvoet (born in Antwerp, 1966), plays one of the leading characters, Theo, an explorer, scientist, and anthropologist.

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Jan Bijvoet (center) crossing the South American Amazon river in “Embrace of the Serpent”

Without giving away any spoilers, much of the international acclaim and appraisal goes to Mr. Bijvoet, who was allowed to show his versatility on the screen and who is like a human dynamo with his creative brilliance in a brave film of substance. The film, which pays tribute to the lost cultures and civilizations of the Colombian Amazon, gives you a completely authentic feeling of time, place, and the film’s ultimate setting; reality is the key-note, which makes “Embrace of the Serpent” a grand and glorious cinematic work of art.

“El abrazo de la serpiente” (a.k.a. “Embrace of the Serpent,” 2015, trailer)


AD FUNDUM (1993) DIR Erik Van Looy PROD – SCR Mark Punt CAM Willy Stassen MUS Tom Wolf, Jean-Marie Aerts ED Ludo Troch, Phillippe Ravoet CAST Tom Van Landuyt, Mathias Sercu, Tom Van Bauwel, Sven de Rider, Axel Daeseleire, Gert Lahousse, Jan Bijvoet (Piet), Stefan Perceval, Tuur De Weert, Senne Rouffaer, Herbert Flack, Koen De Graeve, Wim Opbrouck, Gene Bervoets, Gaston Weemaes

NOWHERE MAN (2008) DIR Patrice Toye PROD Vincent Tavier, Philippe Kauffmann, Guillaume Malandrin SCR Patrice Toye, Bjørn Olaf Johanessen CAM Richard Van Oosterhout MUS John Parish ED Nico Leunen CAST Frank Vercruyssen, Sara De Roo, Wim Willaert, Els Olaerts, Stijn Van Opstal, Robbie Cleiren, Jan Bijvoet (Salesman at Garden Center), Charlotte Vandermeersch, Jeroen Perceval, Koen De Graeve

DIRTY MIND (2009) DIR – SCR Peter Van Hees PROD Frank Van Passel, Kato Maes, Bert Hamelinck CAM Jan Vancaillie ED Nico Leunen CAST Wim Helsen, Robbie Cleiren, Kristine van Pellicom, Peter Van den Begin, Maaike Neuville, Sien Eggers, Peter van den Eede, Sara Debosschere, Frank Vercruyssen, Frank Focketyn, Tine Embrechts, Bruno Vanden Broecke, Sara De Roo, Manou Kersting, Jan Bijvoet (Hugo Duchamps), Marc Didden, Ruth Becquart

THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN (2012) DIR Felix van Groeningen PROD Dirk Impens SCR (adaptation) Carl Joos, Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch (play ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown Featuring the Cover-Ups of Alabama’ by Johan Heldenbergh, Mieke Dobbels) CAM Ruben Impens ED Nico Leunen MUS Bjorn Eriksson CAST Johan Heldenbergh, Veerle Baetens, Nell Cattrysse, Geert Van Rampelberg, Nils De Caster, Bert Huysentruyt, Jan Bijvoet (Koen), Ruth Beeckmans

BORGMAN (2013) DIR – PROD – SCR Alex van Warmerdam CAM Tom Erisman ED Job ter Burg MUS Vincent Van Warmerdam CAST Jan Bijvoet (Camiel Borgman), Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Alex van Warmerdam, Tom Dewispelaere, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Gene Bervoets

MARINA (2013) DIR Stijn Coninx PROD Peter Bouckaert CO-PROD Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Delphine Tomson SCR Stijn Coninx, Rik G’Hiet CAM Lou Berghmans ED Philippe Ravoet MUS Michelino Bisceglia CAST Matteo Simoni, Evelien Bosmans, Luigi Lo Cascio, Donatella Finocchiaro, Warre Biorgmans, Chris van den Durpel, Christiaan Campagna, Jan Bijvoet (Police Inspector # 1), Rocco Granata

EL ABRAZO DE LA SERPIENTE, a.k.a. EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (2015) DIR Ciro Guerra PROD Cristina Gallego SCR  Jacques Toulemonde Vidal (diaries by Theodor Koch-Grunberg; diary by Richard Evan Schultes) CAM David Gallego ED Etienne Boussac MUS Nascuy Linares CAST Nilbio Torres, Jan Bijvoet (Theo), Antonio Bolivar, Brionne Davis, Yauenkü Migue, Nicolás Cancino, Luigi Sciamanna

D’ARDENNEN (2015) DIR Robin Pront PROD Bart Van Langendonck SCR Robin Pront, Jeroen Perceval CAM Robrecht Heyvaert ED Alain Dessauvage CAST Veerle Baetens, Kevin Jansens, Jeroen Perceval, Jan Bijvoet (Stef), Peter Van den Begin, Sam Louwyck, Viviane De Muynck, Caroline Stas

SADIE (2016) DIR Craig Goodwill PROD Craig Goodwill, Brian Dreyfuss, Mike Macari, Neil Dunn SCR Brian Clark, Peta-Megan Dunn CAM David Ungaro MUS Silvio Amato ED Glenn Berman CAST Analeigh Tipton, Marta Gastini, Jakob Cedergren, Jan Bijvoet (Minos), Valentin Merlet