Saturday, June 13, 2009

Movie of the Month:
Part Seven

I recently reviewed
the following film for
Video Librarian, and
thought the results
were worth sharing.

(Gonzalo Arijón,

France, 2007, 130 mins.)

Piers Paul Read's Alive!, the 1973 bestseller that inspired Frank
Marshall's 1993 feature film, previously recounted the story of
the Andes crash survivors, but Gonzalo Arijón's Stranded
allows them to explain what happened in their own words.

Like Kevin Macdonald's Touching the Void, convincing
recreations, in tandem with footage from yesteryear and
oral history-style interviews, help to bring their harrowing
experience to life, making it almost as much of a docudrama
as a documentary (City of God cinematographer César Char-
lone, who almost ended up on the same plane, shot the reen-
actments). Further, Arijón adds commentary from mem-
bers of the rescue team and films the interviews at
the snow-covered Valley of the Tears crash site.

With 34 years to reflect
on the events of 1972, the
16 survivors, who were en
route from Uruguay to Chile,
keep the tears at bay for the
most part, but remain both
confounded and transform-
ed by the ordeal. As Rober-
to Canessa states, "It was
so arbitrary." Twenty-four of the 45 passengers, a mixture of
rugby players and relatives, survived the initial collision
without a scratch, while others were badly injured or kil-
led. "Why you and not me?" Canessa thought at the time.

As for the cannibalism that saved their lives, another explains
simply, "It was a life or death decision." Largely Catholic, they
thought of it as a sort of Holy Communion. For the rest of their
72-day stay, the men were battered by stinging winds, snow-
storms, and an avalanche that felled several more of their com-
patriots, including Liliana, the last female survivor. Originally
and rather poetically subtitled I've Come from a Plane That
Crashed on the Mountains, the DVD comes with a 52-min-
ute making-of featurette. Highest recommendation.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part Six: Philippe Garrel x 2

Endnote: Slightly revised from the
original text. Images from OutNow.

No comments: