Netflix’s Society Of The Snow Does What No Other Portrayal Of The Andes Disaster Does

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Written By Sedoso Feb

“Society of the Snow” features voiceover narration, but rather than that voice being the leader of the survivors, our narration is one of those who don’t make it, dying 12 days before the rescue. 

Indeed, the film places its focus not on a particular leader, or even just on the survivors, but on the collective, especially those who did not return. This is a movie about camaraderie and love, about the unspoken (and also spoken) contract between living and dead, about those who stayed behind so the others could make it back home. That contract, of course, is what every other adaptation ends up focusing on — the cannibalism. Any other film would focus on the taboo, the disgust, and the struggle the living go through having to succumb to such lengths to survive. Not “Society of the Snow.” Bayona makes this a tale of beautiful and tragic sacrifice on behalf of the dead, who give their bodies so their friends can live on.

This gives the script a philosophical and religious layer. Like Scorsese’s “Silence,” it explores the place of faith and guilt. As soon as food runs out, and the question of whether they will eat the dead is raised, it immediately becomes a lengthy and heated debate. “Will God forgive us?” a character asks. “God has nothing to do with this,” another responds. The film portrays the question of cannibalism as one of consent. We never see the butchering of the bodies, but we do see plenty of scenes of characters talking about offering their bodies when they die, permitting the others to consume their flesh and live in remembrance of them.

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