June 21, 2024

Netflix’s “Society of the Snow” Brings Harrowing True Story to Screens

Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Jan 4, 2024

Netflix has released its latest dramatic feature film, “Society of the Snow”, directed by acclaimed filmmaker J.A. Bayona. The movie depicts the harrowing true story of a 1972 plane crash in the Andes mountains and the grueling fight for survival that followed.

Plane Carrying Uruguayan Rugby Team Crashes in Remote Andes

On October 13, 1972, a chartered Fairchild FH-227 aircraft was carrying 45 passengers, including members of the Old Christians Club rugby union team from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Santiago, Chile when it encountered severe weather and crashed in the Andes mountains [1]. The plane was flying over the treacherous mountains in support of the amateur rugby team’s match tour [2].

Turbulence caused the plane’s wings to sheer off, sending the aircraft plunging into a snowbank on a high mountain slope [3]. Twelve people were killed instantly, while another five died from injuries over the next few days [1]. The remaining 28 survivors found themselves stranded at an altitude of 12,000 feet, with meager supplies and no cold-weather clothing [4].

Survivors Face Starvation and Cold While Waiting for Rescue

The survivors rationed the small food supplies from the crash, expecting to be rescued within days [5]. However, due to the remoteness of the crash site and harsh weather conditions, rescue planes were unable to locate them [2].

As weeks passed with no sign of rescue, the survivors faced starvation, altitude sickness, avalanches, and bitter cold. With no sources of heat beyond burning parts of the plane wreckage, temperatures reaching -30°C threatened hypothermia [6]. They devised ingenious ways to melt snow for drinking water and used plane seats and debris to construct shelter [3].

Date Key Event
October 13, 1972 Plane crashes in Andes mountains
October-November 1972 Survivors ration food while awaiting rescue
November-December 1972 With starvation looming, survivors resort to cannibalism
December 23, 1972 Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa set out to find help
December 24, 1972 Parrado and Canessa discover Chilean peasant who alerts authorities
December 22, 1972 Remaining 16 survivors rescued

As food ran out after 60 days, the starving survivors made an agonizing decision: to consume flesh from the frozen bodies of their deceased friends to survive [2]. This act of cannibalism was their only hope for sustenance until they could be found [7].

Two Survivors Trek for 10 Days to Find Rescue

Realizing official rescue efforts had failed, survivors Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa decided to climb out of the mountains themselves to find help [4]. Though lacking proper equipment or mountaineering experience, they set out on what would become a 10-day journey across frigid, treacherous terrain [8].

Relying on nothing but a basic understanding of maps and landmarks, Parrado and Canessa persevered through exhaustion, snow blindness, and near-disastrous falls. At one point, an avalanche washed them away, along with the corpse they had brought for sustenance if needed. Finally crossing the mountain range, they encountered Chilean Sergio Catalán, who gave them food and alerted authorities to save the remaining survivors [9].

“Miracle of the Andes” as 16 Survivors Rescued

On December 23, over two months after initially crashing, Parrado, Canessa, and Catalán discovered the remote village of Los Maitenes and raised the alarm [10]. Chilean authorities swiftly arranged a daring rescue mission, airlifting the 14 remaining survivors from the crash site on Christmas Eve, December 24 [11].

The rescue of the emaciated survivors was dubbed the “Miracle of the Andes” in South America. Aside from one survivor who died shortly after being found, the 15 returnees adapted and recovered both physically and emotionally in the months following their ordeal [12]. Their harrowing story brought international attention and inspired countless recountings in books, documentaries, and now through Bayona’s cinematic lens.

The survivors credit unity, ingenuity, perseverance, and courage with helping them overcome nearly impossible odds – first to sustain life amid the frigid conditions for over two months, then ultimately summoning the willpower to climb out and bring back rescue against all hope [13].

Bayona’s “Society of the Snow” Recounts Tale with Compassion

Having proven his ability to weave disaster and human struggle into compelling cinema with movies like “The Impossible” and “The Orphanage”, Bayona takes on another true story of trauma and salvation [14]. Early reviews praise the respect and care brought to portraying the survivors’ battle with starvation, extreme cold, grief, and toughest of all – the shared pact to eat human flesh so that some might live [15].

Rather than sensationalizing the cannibalism, Bayona’s interpretation grapples with the complex ethics through the eyes of the devastated yet desperate survivors. The director rejected simplifying the group to heroes or villains, instead aiming to capture the events in all their humanity – showing terrified young men pulled from their wrecked dreams of glory on the rugby pitch to confront the ogrish nightmare before them [16].

He strove to craft a meditation on the human will to endure against all odds and the bonds that grow from such trauma, rather than exploit the story’s shocking elements [17]. Leading up to its Netflix launch, advance praise focused heavily on the emotional weight and reverence felt throughout Bayona’s telling of this harrowing true tale [18]. Survivor and hero Fernando Parrado even attests that “Society of the Snow” resonates with the truth of their 1972 tribulations [19].

Audiences now have the opportunity to revisit this unbelievable piece of history through the unique dramatic interpretation crafted by one of the most exciting directors working today. As Bayona tackles this largest project yet, the Andes plane crash survival story seems destined to grip viewers just as profoundly as when it originally shocked the world over 50 years ago.





AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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