Society of the Snow (2023)

Society of the Snow (2023)

J.A. Bayona remembers the humanity, not the sensationalism, of the Andes miracle

The Very Best



Spain, United States of America
Drama, History
Agustín Berruti, Agustín Della Corte, Agustín Lain
144 min


Planes, it’s been nice knowing you.

What it's about

In 1972, a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team crashed into the heart of the Andes. The remaining passengers do what they can to survive one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

The take

Real life tragedies, especially one that's as sensationalized as the Miracle in the Andes, can be tough to depict on screen. On one hand, the film has to keep true to the story but also maintain some form of spectacle to keep people watching. Past depictions of the 1972 crash are preoccupied with the cannibalism portrayed by big name actors, but Society of the Snow takes a different route. The actors are newcomers, the threats to their lives don't require daring action stunts, and the cannibalism is limited to small chunks indistinguishable from animal meat. Instead, the spectacle of Society of the Snow is the human spirit– the vulnerability, the respect, and the generosity they've given each other in order to survive. It’s still an uncomfortable watch, especially since we get to know some of the survivors before the crash, but it’s definitely a transcendent addition to the genre dedicated to the miracle of existence.

What stands out

Society of the Snow has all the survival thriller hallmarks, but the way writer-director J.A. Bayona approaches the real life plane crash makes the story feel compelling. Part of it is due to a dedication to historical accuracy– the film itself is based on the book of the same name, whose author actually knew the survivors before the crash, and the names of every passenger were allowed to be used for the first time. But ultimately, what makes the film fly is the respect it has for the humanity of the passengers, even when pushed to inhumane actions. It cares about them. It doesn’t try to sensationalize the cannibalism, which happened the moment the media took a hold of their stories. This sets Society of the Snow apart from other survival films based on true stories, and even other adaptations depicting the same tragedy.


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