50 Years Later and the Andes Tragedy Continues to Resonate: Society of the Snow Becomes Netflix’s Most-Viewed Film Worldwide

CARACAS, VENZUELA – The enduring story of the Andes tragedy of 1972 continues to capture attention 50 years since the devastating event. The crash of a Uruguayan Air Force plane in the Andes mountains resulted in the survival of 16 individuals, who defied extreme conditions for over two months. The recent film adaptation of the harrowing experience, “Society of the Snow,” has become Netflix’s most-viewed movie worldwide since its debut on January 4.

Based on Pablo Vierci’s 2008 book, the film, which is Spain’s entry for the Oscars, sheds new light on the shocking ordeal faced by the survivors, who were primarily amateur rugby players and their friends and family. The controversy around the survivors resorting to cannibalism for sustenance sent shockwaves at the time of the tragedy, with prominent newspapers like El Mercurio and La Segunda featuring graphic and disconcerting images and headlines about the survivors’ desperate measures.

The release of the 1976 film “Survive!,” which portrayed the events around the Andes tragedy, was met with both fascination and critique. The film, created by RenĂ© Cardona and his son, featured graphic scenes and was criticized for its focus on the more horrifying aspects of the survivors’ experience. The film’s narrative delved into the religious and moral dilemmas faced by the survivors as they resorted to cannibalism in order to stay alive.

Despite criticisms of its exploitative nature, “Survive!” and subsequent film adaptations have depicted the survivors’ experiences and the ethical questions they grappled with as they fought for survival. The most recent film, “Society of the Snow,” directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, offers a more thorough and mature portrayal of the survivors’ experiences, not focusing solely on the sensational aspects, but rather seeking to understand the deeper meaning of their painful experiences.

This latest adaptation, along with the survivors’ lectures and search for religious and existential significance, serves as a more transcendent and thoughtful depiction of the Andes tragedy, moving beyond the sensationalism to focus on the day-by-day suffering and resilience of those who endured the ordeal. While the films and books on the subject have faced criticism and controversy, they have also provided a platform for the survivors to share their experiences and seek deeper meaning in the face of unimaginable circumstances.