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Society of the Snow: an inspiring, true tale about survival, love and togetherness

Trailer+Link%3A+https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FpDak4qLyF4Q%3Fsi%3DF4P7-MWHzYKx0_cZ
Trailer Link: https://youtu.be/pDak4qLyF4Q?si=F4P7-MWHzYKx0_cZ

“Society of the Snow” is a Spanish film based on a book with the same name by Pablo Vierci about the 1972 plane crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 and the Uruguayan rugby team that had to fight for their survival after being stranded in the Andes Mountains. This true story shows elements of love, fear, remorse and hope as the survivors of the crash had to make tough decisions to survive and hopefully escape the barren frozen wasteland. 

The film was highly praised by critics, obtaining a 90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.8/10 on IMDb. It also won 12 awards at the 38th Goya Awards (2024), including Best Picture and Best Director. It was also nominated for the Best International Feature Film (for Spain) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 96th Academy Awards (2024).

Most of the film takes place at the crash site of the plane where those who did not perish from the plane crash itself had to use what was left of the plane for shelter. 

The original flight plan was to go from Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay to Pudahuel Airport in Santiago, Chile, with a stopover at Mendoza International Airport in Mendoza, Argentina. When the flight left from Montevideo there were 40 passengers (which were 19 members of the Old Christians Club rugby union team, along with their families, supporters and friends) and five crew members, only 29 of them survived the initial crash. Those who survived had to continue to fight for survival in the deadly Andes. For 72 days, the survivors had to combat freezing temperatures, sickness, avalanches, blizzards, dehydration and extreme hunger. Unlike being marooned on a desert island, there were zero food sources in the Andes—no fish, no animals, and no plants of any kind. After the survivors quickly finished off the limited food they had on the plane, they were forced to resort to survival cannibalism using the remains of the departed. 

Their terror in the Andes finally came to an end when two rugby team members, Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, set out on a desperate trek across the Andes to find help. Their trek lasted 10 days until they found a farmer who could help them call for help. Shortly after their rescue, the remaining survivors were picked up by helicopters. In the end, there were only 16 survivors out of the original 45 people on the flight. 

One of the most beautiful parts of the film was when the final death occurred with the death of Numa Turcatti, a law student and friend of a member of the team, who died due to a septic condition. In the film Turcatti’s character was the film’s narrator. When Turcatti died, he had written a passage from the Bible on a piece of paper in his hand: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

The passage showed the inspiring bond between the survivors of the crash to come together and care for each other in a time of great sorrow and pain. It also, just like the entire film shows, materialistic possessions are really worthless and our friends and family matter more than anything. Another aspect of “Society of the Snow” that I appreciated was how most of the cast were newcomers. It allows the story to just the story and not think about the cast and where they have been before the film. This film is very unique but if it had to be compared to something what comes to mind are “Alive,” which was an American film back in 1993 about the same crash, but “Society of the Snow” was widely higher rated even though the entire film is in another language (Spanish) and the story of “The Lord of the Flies” bringing the story of a group of young men fighting for survival. The biggest difference from “The Lord of the Flies” is how the group reacts in the face of adversity. In “The Lord of the Flies,” the boys turn on each other and do not try to help everybody. In “Society of the Snow,” the team did all they can to help one another and to not try anything slick to gain advantage. In the end my rating of the film is 4.25 out of 5 stars.“Society of the Snow” is available to watch on Netflix for those who would like to see it for themselves if they do not mind the subtitles.

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