Submitted by Julio M

(La Sociedad de la Nieve)

This cinematic version of the Miracle Of The Andes is based on a source different from the one that served as base for the 1993 film ALIVE!; many scenes and situations are similar in both movies; some differ to a certain degree. However, this one distinguishes itself above the former in how it fleshes out more of the personal stories from each of the men affected by the accident -both survivors and deceased-, and that it gave a more protagonic presence to Numa Turcatti -turned into a fictional character in the former-, including a voiceover throughout the movie, despite the fact that he didn’t survive.

Short pooper:
Twenty-nine of the passengers, including Numa (Enzo Vogrincic), die; sixteen survive. Nando (Agustin Pardella) and Roberto (Matias Recalt) bravely traverse the Andes and finally reach a valley where they encounter a local countryman who gets them help. The authorities and the media are informed, the remaining survivors are rescued, it becomes a massive story and the guys joyfully reunite with their families and recover together from their ordeal in hospital.

Longer version:
Despite Roberto’s best efforts in taking care of it, the foot wound Numa sustained while trying to break through the refuge in the aftermath of the avalanche worsens and he becomes gravely ill. Nonetheless, he resists and keeps collaborating with his comrades and supporting them in the effort to escape their ordeal, while his strength allows him to. After the expedition in which Nando, Roberto and Roy (Andy Pruss) find the plane’s tail and, then, attempt and fail to send an SOS using the batteries and radio they came across, both Arturo (Fernando Contingiani) and Numa are the last ones to die of their respective wounds.

Nando convinces Roberto and Tintin (Agustin Della Corte) to make the trip through the mountains and fight to find a way out and get help for the rest of the group. After climbing two sets of summits, Nando catches sight of faraway hills with no snow, which, he strongly believes, means they are getting close to the inner valleys of Chile. He convinces Tintin to give up his food ration and return to the fuselage to rejoin the rest of the group, which Tintin enthusiastically does and relays to everyone else. Nando and Roberto carry on with the journey.

After a few days, they cross a snow line and come down a beautiful green valley with a river. As they rest and try to regain strength, a local countryman (Ezequiel Fadel Hinojosa) -historically documented as Sergio Catalan- spots them; they manage to communicate with each other through a piece of paper and a pencil tied to a rock, tossed back and forth across the stream. Nando informs the man that they both came from the mountains, are part of the group involved in the accident, two months prior, and are hungry, thirsty and have no energy to go on. The man reassures them both he will get help and rides away to a military post; in a snowball effect, while Sergio takes care of both men in his house, the shocked authorities relay the miraculous discovery, rescue teams are gathered, the press starts flocking to the place, the rest of the group hears about it on the radio and, not long after, two helicopters from the Chilean Air Force find the place of the accident and save the other 14 survivors. A total of 72 days had passed, in total, between the accident and the final rescue.

Along with the images leading to the end of the movie, an inspiring voiceover of Numa, in spirit, is heard, describing how, although he himself didn’t make it to the end of the odyssey, he could feel assured about the fact that those who did live to be rescued would carry on with their lives and transmit the message of hope and inspiration of their harrowing experience to the rest of the world. We see the survivors being accosted by commonfolk and reporters from everywhere, treated at the hospital, reacquainted with their respective family members and, finally, recovering together.

The end credits roll with real pictures taken of the team members and passengers themselves, as well as of places prior to the accident and of the hostile, majestic environment where they all had to live in, together, and lean on each other for more than two months of their lives.

02 hours 24 minutes