Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Society of the Snow: 16 survivors, 72 days in The Andes.

%E2%80%9CSociety+of+the+Snow%E2%80%9D+on+Netflix.+Illustration+by+Larissa+Lopez.
Larissa Lopez
“Society of the Snow” on Netflix. Illustration by Larissa Lopez.

La cordillera de los Andes. A mountain range in the west side of South America extending in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The mountains have an average height of about 13,123 feet, with the highest one achieving an impressive 22,831 feet. These mountains make it so the weather there is extremely cold, accompanied by winds and snowstorms.

It sounds impossible for any human being to survive in those conditions, but “The Society of the Snow” talks exactly about this. The survival thriller directed by J. A. Bayona tells the story of the 1972 Andes flight disaster and how 16 people were able to survive 72 days in the Andes, in temperatures of -22 degrees Fahrenheit.

This story has been transformed into the big screen many times, with the most popular one being “Alive” a 1993 American movie which turned into the main way people learnt about this disaster. So why talk about this story again? Turns out the original survivors do not like any of the movies created before “Society of the Snow,” as they felt it was a dramatization of the acts that happened and that it did not tell what they experienced truthfully.

This is exactly what makes “Society of the Snow” different, Bayona made it so the survivors could be heard and was completely open about showcasing what they felt and how the human spirit can fight against even the most extreme conditions, focusing not only on the physical aspect of the disaster but also the emotional one. The survivors were so happy with how the movie portrayed their story that they even made small cameos.

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The movie has some of the most anxiety-inducing scenes I have ever watched, with the plane crash scene making you feel as if you were there with the incredible sound and directing. With luggage flying everywhere, the plane being divided into two parts with the back section separating early and throwing some passengers to the cold mountains and the front of the plane hitting the mountains later, crushing everyone into the seats and into each other.

After this fast and extreme scene, we are left with the survivors and how they manage to survive throughout the days, using everything they could around them and building a small refuge with what was left of the airplane, ending up in a 72-day search for survival.

This desperation for such a simple act as surviving creates something scarier than most horror movies now. Seeing the characters slowly lose weight, get ill and suffer more wounds, ends in some of the most extreme decisions to make for anyone and how at the end of the day, the most important thing for humankind is to live.

The cinematography highlights the incredibly beautiful aspects of the Andes, with the high mountains topped with snow reaching the survivors’ knees, as well as making this beauty the main horror. There is nothing around them: no human society, no animals, no food and with crushing temperatures that burn calories extremely quickly.

For such an emotionally heavy movie, the actors which are mostly young men with little to no experience, deliver an incredible performance and making it feel as the best adaption of the story, with most of them having an uncanny similarity to the real-life survivors.

Even though it is incredibly easy to make this movie as devastating as possible, what I think makes it the most amazing is how it delves into how the human spirit and teamwork can make anything possible. Finishing the movie leaves you being amazed at how anything is possible, and personally, ended up in me feeling extremely inspired.

“Society of the Snow” is available for streaming in Netflix, and I would recommend watching it in the original language with English subtitles, for a better enjoyment.

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About the Contributor
Larissa Lopez, Photographer
Larissa Lopez (she/her/hers) is currently a photographer at The Winonan.
Larissa is an international student from Santa Cruz, Bolivia and is a second-year student at Winona State University in the major of Finance. She loves experimenting with the different activities offered on campus, and visiting as many places as possible. She hopes as a photographer, to be able to experience more events and portray them.
Larissa’s hobbies include watching films of any genre, making traditional and digital art, listening to music and biking around Winona.

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