J.A. Bayona directs Society of the Snow about the Uruguayan 1972 Andes flight disaster involving a rugby team. The survival thriller is based on Pablo Vierci's book Society of the Snow about the 16 survivors of the crash.
According to IndieWire, Spain has already chosen Society of the Snow as its entry for 2023's Best International Film Oscar. The story about the plane disaster was previously dramatized on-screen for the 1993 movie Alive starring Ethan Hawke, but Bayona's emotionally harrowing film strives for authenticity — even filming at the actual crash site. Only 29 of the 45 passengers survived the initial crash and had to resort to extreme measures to survive the brutal conditions. The 14 remaining survivors who are alive today saw Society of the Snow two months before its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
The Society of the Snow cast includes Enzo Vogrincic, Agustín Pardella, Matías Recalt, Esteban Bigliardi, Diego Vegezzi, Fernando Contigiani García, Esteban Kukuriczka, Rafael Federman, Francisco Romero, Valentino Alonso, Tomás Wolf, Agustín Della Corte, Felipe Otaño, Andy Pruss, Blas Polidori, Felipe Ramusio, and Simón Hempe.
J.A. Bayona Says That Society of the Snow Author Pablo Vierci Is the “Custodian of the Story and Characters”
“The survivors were fundamental — their enthusiasm galvanized the film and my point of view,” Bayona said to IndieWire. “We went through an exciting and creative process together. If any questions came up on set, Vierci would pick up the phone, and we would talk to the people who had first-hand experience of the situations we were trying to re-create. It was a unique experience.” Bayona continued:
“The people in the plane, the people who went through that story, were offering their bodies to their friends, in case they need them. And in that idea, there is something transcendent because it’s this unconscious realization that you and I are the same thing. That if you live, I live. And I thought how interesting it would be to tell a tale that starts with one character. And this character gives the chance to the other people to finish the story. And you create a visual metaphor or a narrative metaphor, where the character is allowed to leave and to get to the end, thanks to his friends, and his friends are able to get there thanks to him, which is basically what the essence of the story is about.”
Society of the Snow is Bayona's first Spanish-language film in 15 years. He previously directed The Orphanage, The Impossible, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Society of the Snow premieres in select theaters on December 22 before streaming on Netflix on January 4.