14 Feb 2024

‘Greeted as heroes after eating their friends’: Society of the Snow


It’s a well-known true story of extreme survival: the plane that took off from Montevideo in Uruguay in October 1972 on its way to Santiago in Chile. On board – 45 people, including a rugby team.

They never got to play their match because the plane crashed into the Andes – one of the most hostile environments on the planet. Those who survived the impact were forced to take extreme measures to stay alive, including eating the bodies of those who’d died. After two and a half months, 16 people were rescued alive.

A new film based on the story called ‘Society of the Snow’ has been nominated for a BAFTA and an Oscar. I spoke to its director Juan Antonio Bayona, and began by asking how the actors relived the disaster that unfolded.