Snow Society is a 2023 survival thriller film directed by JA Bayona. Set against the backdrop of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 chartered in 1972 to transport a rugby team to Chile, the story takes an unexpected turn when the plane crashes on an Andean glacier.
The film is an adaptation of Pablo Vierci’s book, sharing the same title and providing first-hand accounts from the 16 survivors. Although the film offers a fictionalized account of the survivors’ ordeal, it draws its essence from the profound challenges, such as temperatures as low as -35 degrees Celsius, faced during the incident itself.
How cold it was in Snow Society?
The survivors, trapped at an altitude of 11,710 feet, endured freezing temperatures of up to -35 degrees Celsius for 72 days.
The harsh environment, coupled with avalanches, became a relentless adversary in their struggle for survival, ultimately earning the ordeal the nickname “Miracle of the Andes.”
Through the freezing temperatures, loss of life and ethical dilemmas posed by survival choices, the film pays homage to the indomitable spirit that emerged from one of the most difficult survival stories in modern history .
How many died in Snow Society? Survivors explored
Of the 45 passengers, only 16 survived, finding themselves stranded in one of the most inaccessible and hostile environments on the planet.
Faced with the terrible challenge of survival, survivors are forced to make extreme decisions, determining the course of their existence in the midst of this terrible ordeal.
Survivors, including members of the Old Christians Club rugby team, faced atrocious conditions, rationing the minimal food found in the wreckage. Faced with dwindling resources, some resorted to cannibalism to avoid starvation.
Why did Flight 571 crash? Snow Society explored plot
The crash of Flight 571 was the result of a critical error when one of the pilots initiated the descent prematurely.
This led the plane to collide with a mountain ridge, severing both wings. The catastrophic accident occurred in a remote region of the Andes, setting the stage for an unprecedented story of survival.
Director JA Bayona’s meticulous approach to depicting the film is evident in his choice not to feature graphic images, aiming to immerse the audience in the emotional journey of the survivors.
Drawing on interviews with survivors, Bayona sought to convey the deep emotional and psychological impact of their harrowing experiences. The survivors’ resilience and the ethical dilemma of their choices form a central theme of the gripping narrative.
Featuring a cast mostly made up of Uruguayan and Argentinian newcomers, the film marked the closing of the 80th Venice International Film Festival, presented out of competition.
Released in theaters in Uruguay on December 13, 2023 and in Spain two days later, Snow Society arrived in the United States on December 22, 2023, followed by its streaming debut on Netflix on January 4, 2024.
Garnering positive reviews, the film was submitted for consideration in the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards.
The story of the Andean survivors, as described in Snow Societycontinues to captivate audiences with its exploration of human resilience and the extreme measures individuals are forced to take in the face of dire circumstances.