OUT OF COMPETITION
There are directors who, while making a limited number of works, do not miss a beat. And Juan Antonio Bayona is one of them. Regardless of the judgment on the various The Orphanage, The Impossible, Jurassic World – The Shattered Kingdom or the splendid A Monster Calls in 2016 (and without considering the episodes directed for Penny Dreadful or The Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power) the choice of his latest La sociedad de la nieve as the closing film of the 80th Venice International Film Festival confirms the variety of his cinema and his ability to reach the most diverse audiences.
Thus, the true story of Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya Flight 571 passengers, which crashed in the heart of the Andes on October 13, 1972, will close this edition’s closing and award ceremony. A story already told by 1993’s film Alive and 1976’s The Survivors of the Andes, which, however, this time relies on the 2008 book of the same name by Uruguayan writer Pablo Vierci, author of the later I Had to Survive, co-written with one of those 29 young protagonists of the drama. They were members of a rugby team flying to Chile who, for weeks, found themselves trapped in one of the most hostile and inaccessible places on the planet, forced to resort to extreme and inhumane measures to avoid succumbing to the situation.
Filmed between Granada and the Sierra Nevada, we will soon see it on Netflix after a planned theatrical release. Without Netflix, there would have been no film, according to Bayona, who returns to filming in Spanish 15 years after his debut. “They liked it“, he recounts – For the realism of accompanying [the survivors] on their journey and reflecting their differences“. “I considered and consulted everyone“, says the director of what he calls “a film about life in a place where life is impossible. A bleak and dead place where it is necessary to reinvent life itself. Where bonds, habits and beliefs must adapt to terrible adversity to reveal our true nature. Who we are when having reached the limit, team spirit and mutual support come to the surface, proving to be the main means of survival“.
A challenge that has taken him more than a decade to accomplish and which is already giving way to the next one: the adaptation of Manuel Chaves Nogales’ book A sangre y fuego about the Spanish Civil War, which he says he “owes” to his great-grandfather and to a family environment that gave him “values that arise from the historical context in which they lived such as justice and goodness, concepts challenged by La sociedad de la nieve“.
La sociedad de la nieve
Spain, 2023. Directed by J. A. Bayona. Starring 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, Simón Hempe. Running time 144′.