Society of the Snow is a harrowing portrayal of 1972's Andes plane crash, out of which's initial 40 passengers, only 16 returned alive, laden with the trauma of surviving avalanches and cannibalism.
Society of the Snow made its OTT debut on Netflix on January 4, 2024, amid much buzz for the film due to its quadruple nominations at the Academy Awards this year, leaving several box office hits like Oppenheimer and Napoleon in the dust.
However, the film is not all buzz and no honey. Directed by Spanish filmmaker J. A. Bayona, who is known for his projects like The Orphanage and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Based on Pablo Vierci’s novel of the same name, the film carves a sensitive and accepting approach to the tragedy without disrespecting the survivors.
To ensure that proper respect is maintained towards the delicate and traumatizing plot premise, the survivors were included during the film’s making, going so far as to include several of them off as well as onscreen.
The film’s cast, comprising a highly talented group of Argentinian-Uruguayan actors also maintains the cultural context and authenticity of the survivors, along with reducing language barriers as far as the story is concerned.
Narrated from the perspective of amateur rugby player Numa Turcatti, Society of the Snow follows the real-life story of the fateful Flight 571’s journey to Santiago, Chile, carrying a group of the local Old Christians amateur rugby team and some of their family members for a series of matches.
Unfortunately, as a result of out-of-the-blue bad weather, unsuitable plane, as well as an inexperienced pilot, the plane crashes into the Andes mountains before it can begin its landing. Tragically for the young boys, they crashed into the snowy ranges in October, with impending winter and already-burgeoning flurries of snow.
Initially 33 survivors make it, but as the days pass by and help cannot find them, with the harsh weather conditions, lack of warmth and food and shelter, the boys, who name themselves ‘Society of the Snow’ are forced to resort to cannibalism, in order to survive.
However, Bayona proves he is a visionary here as well, because of his exceptional execution of the sensitive themes of cannibalism and gore, without hurting any sentiments or compromising on the cinematic impact. Since the film’s premiere, X, formerly Twitter, has been abuzz with praise for the film, especially its brilliant portrayal of the plane crash.
With a nearly full bag praising the film’s heartrending scenes, tearjerker ending, along with a heart full of hopelessness yet inspiration for something more, Society of the Snow entrances its viewers with its portrayal, authenticity, simplicity, and of course, exceptional cast.