On Friday, the 13th of October, 1972, a charter plane carrying 45 passengers, including a college rugby team, vanished over the desolate, snow-covered Andes Mountains. For 72 days, the world thought they were dead.
A Uruguayan rugby team crashes in the Andes Mountains and has to survive the extremely cold temperatures and rough climate. As some of the people die, the survivors are forced to make a terrible decision between starvation and cannibalism.
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Cinematographer César Charlone, a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, went to the same college as the survivors. He was supposed to be on the ill-fated flight 571 but, as luck would have it, could not reach Montevideo in time to catch it since he was traveling from Brazil. See more »
At about 17:35, a photo is shown of the valley the plane crashed in. The caption reads that the picture was taken by Roy Harley minutes after the crash, but in fact the only camera the survivors had was found in the tail some weeks later. Nando Parrado took most of the photos on that particular film, including the one featured at 17:35. See more »
One of my earliest memories was when little Billy Markland came into kindergarten and told everyone, "a plane crashed and the people ate the people." That was all he said, and for years if not decades, that's basically all the world knew about it. Sure some details emerged, a book was written, and Ethan Hawke did a movie about it, but we never really got the full story. Not like we finally get here.
When I say "the full story", I'm not talking about the gory details of what human flesh tastes like (which, be honest, is what we're all wondering!). But what this film offers is some profound insight into the minds of the survivors, as told by themselves.
I was really surprised at how intelligent and philosophical their statements are. The survivors touch on many compelling subjects, like "is cannibalism an act of primitive savagery, or could it be an evolutionary step forward?" The kids aboard the doomed flight were mostly religious and with strong moral consciences. But when morality interferes with survival, does it become obsolete? Another interesting topic touched upon is "how does a social structure form itself?" We are given insight into what codes of behaviour emerge among a group of people who are no longer bound to follow any codes of behaviour. If you think author William Golding had it pegged in "Lord of the Flies", you might want to watch this as the antithesis to that pessimistic parable of human society.
Therein lies the power of this documentary. It's not just a tale of 14 survivors in the snow. It's an allegory of the entire human species and what we do to survive and hopefully evolve into something greater.
This is the kind of film that can provide hours of interesting debate around the dinner table (uh... well maybe not the DINNER table). If you approach it like a scientist studying an experiment, you will be fascinated. In fact, one of the survivors talks about how it felt like they were guinea pigs in some laboratory test, designed to show how humans hold up under the most maddening conditions.
The only minor criticism I have is that the documentary feels slightly biased, aiming to glorify the survivors and shy away from any negative portrayals. That's fair; the survivors doubtlessly deserve glorification. But it made me wonder if there was a little more to the story that we weren't told. I admit that's sheer cynical speculation (I should probably stop watching Fox News).
In any case, this is a well-made documentary with lots of intelligent interviews, some convincing, dramatic re-enactments and definitely enough meat to it. Oooh, bad metaphor... Let's just say the film really picks your brain. Oopsie, another TASTELESS quip. Haha, I bet you're FED UP WITH PEOPLE like me... Aw, please don't give me the COLD SHOULDER.....
Cannibals hate comedians... because they taste funny. Yuk yuk
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