Society of the Snow: the tragic real-life story behind the film

Thanks to the massive success achieved by Society of the Snow many people have now learnt the story of the Uruguayan rugby team that managed to survive a plane crash in the hostile conditions of the Andes Mountains for over two months. Here at MFC, we bring you some facts that you need to know in order to understand the true story that inspired the film.

For the last couple of days, movie fans have been talking about a story in particular: Society of the Snow. This film that’s been in everybody’s mouth was written and directed by Juan Antonio Bayona who based his story from the homonymous book written by Pablo Vierci. This film depicts the tragic accident suffered by a group of Uruguayans whose plane crashed against the Andes and the hardships they had to endure for over two months in the frozen mountains.

Since it’s a movie based on real life events, MFC brings you some interesting facts to fully understand this story of survival and bravery.

What was the plane crash in Society of the Snow really like?

On October 13th, 1972, a plane with 45 people on board, most of them members of a Uruguayan rugby team, crashed in the Andes Mountains. The impact caused the aircraft to break in half, killing several people instantly.

Nonetheless, a few passengers survived the crash and had to struggle to stay alive for the 72 days they spent on the “Valley of Tears”, over 3000 meters above sea level. “What happened to us in the Andes is absurd”, stated Roberto Canessa, one of the 16 survivors of the tragedy. 

According to experts, it was a short yet complex route, since the weather wasn’t in the best conditions, the pilots had little to no visibility and the flight required rapid ascents and descents to overcome the height of the mountain range.

Actual photo taken by the survivors of the plane crash.

This story gave place to many adaptations, like Alive (1993), directed by Frank Marshall and starring Ethan Hawke. However, since Bayona wanted to tell this story in his mother tongue, he felt that there was something missing from this American film. That’s why he decided to narrate the story in his terms in his version of La sociedad de la nieve.

Ethan Hawke in Alive.

Did the Andes tragedy survivors really eat human flesh?

After 10 days of eating only toothpaste or crafting a tea from cigarette’s tobacco, the survivors realized that they might have to feed from the remains of their dead mates, since it was the only way to get protein in order to have the energy needed for survival.

In the movie Society of the Snow, Bayona does a magnificent work in depicting that taking this decision was in fact extremely difficult for the Uruguayan team members, since it represented the uttermost human immorality, and that by giving into this, it would be a demonstration of the complete loss of hope of ever being rescued. This can be seen in the scenes in which the characters forced themselves, with tears running down their faces, to swallow the flesh of their mates, knowing that there was no other possible option if they wanted to survive. 

Still from Society of the Snow.

Who is Enzo Vogrincic, the actor who plays Numa Turcatti? 

Numa Turcatti, one of the main characters and the narrator of Society of the Snow, is played by Enzo Vogrincic. The 30-year-old Uruguayan actor explained that this role was both an opportunity and a challenge since he had to lose a great amount of weight and starve himself during the shooting of the film. He even stated that, on many occasions, he had to roll with fever, but that all these experiences helped him to further connect with his character and the story.

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The Uruguayan actor is not only known for Society of the Snow (and for his striking resemblance with Adam Driver), but he has also starred in many other productions, like the series Porno and Ice Cream (2022) and in the movie A Twelve-Year Night (2018).

Vogrincic, just like his acting mates, had to spend a lot of time on the real snow, enduring situations of extreme cold and hunger. Finally, the actor described the filming of the avalanche scenes as “torture”. 

Enzo Vogrincic as Numa.

Will Society of the Snow be nominated for the Oscars?

Society of the Snow is only a few steps away from being nominated to the most prestigious movie award, since it’s on the Oscars’ shortlist for Best International Feature Film and is also semifinalist in the categories of Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, as well as Best Original Score.

The list of nominees for the Oscars will be presented on January 23rd, 2024 and the ceremony will be on March 10th.

MFC recommendation: Lift

If you’ve heard a lot of people talk about airplane movies, but you still don’t feel ready to see something as harrowing as Society of the Snow (or you have to catch a flight in the next few days) don’t be discouraged, because this week Lift premiered on digital platforms.

This comedy follows the story of a thief who has earned his fame as such and who is required by his ex-girlfriend and the FBI to carry out a robbery of 100 million dollars in gold bars, on a fully operational plane while it flies from London to Zurich. Behind this request, the aim is to thwart a terrorist attack, which requires a larger team. Starring Úrsula Corberó (Money Heist) and Kevin Hart, this is a top-notch film that guarantees laughter and fun moments.

Now it’s your turn, MyFamiler: let us know in the comments your thoughts on Society of the Snow and if you’ve already seen it, or if you’d prefer to see something lighter, like Lift.



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