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Review: Society of the Snow. I am still Alive, but the imagination is dying

  • Release year: 2023
  • Director: J. A. Bayona.
  • Producers: Belén Atienza, J. A. Bayona and Sandra Hermida.
  • Screenplay by: Jaime Marques and Nicolás Casariego.
  • Cinematographer: Pedro Luque.
  • Music by: Michael Giacchino.

Synopsis: a plane crashes in the Andes, and the survivors fight the cold weather in hope of being rescued.

Shotgun Commentary: unnecessary tearjerker, very well-made though.

Numa (Enzo Vogrincic) in the poster of Society of the Snow (J. A. Bayona, 2023).


Society of the Snow tells the story of a Chilean rugby team that crashes in the Andes while trying to cross it by plane. Yes, it is that story. No, no, that EXACT SAME story. The one told in Alive (1993), and I Am Alive: Surviving the Andes Plane Crash (2010). Apparently, there are a few seconds that haven’t been uncovered yet. Either that, or this is just another case of cinema running out of ideas.

God is not the answer

It would be unfair to say that Society of the Snow brings absolutely nothing new to the plate. It does, but whether it’s relevant or not is a whole other business. The main difference is that of the narrator. In this latest version of the tragedy, the narrator is Numa Turcatti (Enzo Vogrincic) instead of Carlitos Páez (Felipe González Otaño). This adds a layer of religion to the whole narrative, since Numa was very religious and the last to turn to cannibalism for survival.

Bloody hand on a window. Source: Society of the Snow (J. A. Bayona, 2023).

The change is interesting, but also quite cheeky. In terms of creating emotion, using one of the victims as narrator is a secure way to get to the audiences’ heart. However, other than its tear-jerking value, the swap only changes the amount of religion that is featured, a characteristic that doesn’t mean anything for non-Christians other than boredom.

Good decisions and looks

There are lots of other details that bring this film closer to the real events than the previous feature, some good, some…controversial. The use of an all-South-American cast is a fantastic decision. Seeing this story being told by pretty famous American actors completely takes you out of the tale. The same goes for the use of Spanish. Nowadays, spectators are over the “hardships” of using subtitles. There are other languages in the world, and making cinema in them shouldn’t hinder the way they are regarded.

Part of the group of people who went on the plane.
Source: Society of the Snow (J. A. Bayona, 2023).

Following the path of accuracy, the film was shot in the real site where the accident happened. Was this necessary? No. Is it a bid morbid? Yes. Does it look great on camera? Also yes. The cinematography is amazing and, although a big part of the merit goes to the gorgeous landscape, another important part should go to Pedro Luque, the amazing director of photography that manages to deliver the most beautiful, well-balanced shots in very dire situations.

Talent and grimness

The cast also have time to shine with their great performances. The addition of explicit content in terms of their relationship with cannibalism is very thoroughly explored. This shows the actor’s amazing acting skills as well as the evolution of the general audience. No one bats an eye any more at cannibalism, unlike they did a couple of decades ago. This gives a lot of leeway to the storytelling and offers the irrefutable possibility of using the ever-popular morbid content, material that will make sure your product is known.

There is a very big contrast between the lack of care about showing very explicitly how the survivors eat the dead, and the great respect shown to the victims through the mention of all of their names and ages. The addition of this data, while very close to the aforementioned morbidity, also makes sure that they are remembered and that the spectators put their age in perspective, making them all the more real to anyone watching.

The plane that will crash in the Andes. Source:
Society of the Snow (J. A. Bayona, 2023).

The ending is also better executed than the previous feature since it shows, not only how they actually managed to get rescued, but also the aftermath of the whole ordeal, their demarcation, a pure flex by the makeup department; and the avalanche of press that they had to face.

All in all, it is a very well-made movie, with lots of details and talented artists participating in it. Its only failure is the use of a very famous event in history that has already been told from numerous perspectives, textual and visual, and that is no longer shocking or original.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Don’t retell stories, find or imagine something new, please.
  • Cannibalism doesn’t shock any more, it doesn’t matter how explicit you make it.
  • Praying won’t save you, you have to save yourself.
The survivors of the affair. Source: Society of the Snow (J. A. Bayona, 2023).

What’s your take? Have you watched The Society of the Snow? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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