Screen Scene – Society of the Snow: Navigating a Tale of Survival

My favourite films are the ones that sit with you long after the lights have gone up – the stories that twist their way into your thoughts, unexpectedly resurfacing at random moments, sparking contemplation and stirring emotions. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film that left me pondering its plot weeks later. This month’s Screen Scene recommendation, Society of the Snow, has done just that. After the film debuted on Netflix’s top-10 list in early January, I knew it was worth a watch and settled in to view the survival thriller directed by J.A. Bayona.

Society of the Snow draws inspiration from a chilling chapter in history – the 1972 plane crash involving a Uruguayan rugby team on a chartered flight to Chile. Based on true events, this gripping narrative chronicles the survival of 16 individuals who found themselves stranded in the unforgiving Andes mountain range. The film navigates their tale of survival, focusing not only on the physical challenges faced by the survivors but also on their remarkable ability to band together in the face of unimaginable adversity. From the initial crash landing on a remote glacier to the grueling 72-day ordeal of starvation, extreme weather, and ultimately, the decision to resort to cannibalism, the film captures the raw essence of the human spirit of endurance and survival.

Through compelling performances and haunting cinematography, Society of the Snow offers a stirring tribute to the strength of human will and the power of friendship in the most difficult of circumstances. Adapted from Pablo Vierci’s book of the same name, it’s worth noting that Vierci had a personal connection to many of the 16 survivors from childhood. This close relationship surely accounts for the intimate translation to film by director Bayona. Despite the shocking story of cannibalism and perseverance, the true heart of the film lies in its depiction of the survivors’ friendships, an admirable feat when faced with such dire circumstances.

Notably, Society of the Snow has been nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best International Film and Makeup & Hair. With the Oscars screening on March 10, 2024, it will be interesting to see if the film garners an award, which, in my opinion, it deserves. Available on Netflix in its original Spanish language or dubbed in English, it’s a film not to be missed.

For those looking for more thrilling true story adaptations, or a list of inspiring films, check out my recommendations below.
1) The Impossible, Netflix (also from Director J.A. Bayona)
2) 127 Hours, Disney+
3) Catch Me if You Can, Netflix
4) Wild, Prime

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