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Making Netflix’s ‘Society of the Snow’ From Accurate Historical Recreations to Deeply Spiritual Interpretation

The film opens with generous portraits of many of the characters, whom we later follow in the mountains as they lead relatively peaceful and fulfilling lives. Our main narrator is Numa (Enzo Vogrincic Roldán), a young man from a conservative, religious family. He presented himself in what is a typical moment for him, a signal of the coming transformation.

JA Bayona: The entire film is a journey to a place where Numa can discover himself, who he really is. He needs to understand what his shadow is, what his true nature is. And somehow he needs to pray with that culture. It was important for me to reflect the context from which it originates. This is a real church in Montevideo; this is actually one of the churches that Numa probably went to with his family many times in his life. It is very close to where he lived. We are shooting in the same places where the story took place. We really wanted to be very close to reality.

Pedro Luque: Uruguay is a place that is very green. It has four seasons. It’s cold and it’s hot, but it’s a pretty drab place. The highest elevation you can reach in Uruguay is 1,400 feet. It’s a nice place to live – nothing like the harshness of the Andes where they ended up. At the beginning of the film, we set up this comfortable life that these people have – how warm it is, how happy they are, how loved and cared for and how supported they are throughout their lives. In a way, this image finds Numa in a warm environment. It’s cozy.

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Bayonne: It’s the spirit of being young. This is a frame you can find in a movie like deer hunter, for example. Movies from the 70s, widescreen. There’s a sense of scene, location, character development and what they’re going through. There’s actually something very interesting about this scene – I didn’t want to feel celebratory, especially when it comes to religion. So there’s this thing where the character feels a little funny and relays the message to Numa. It’s a setup for something that happens later. We didn’t want to feel too heavy. There is an element of comedy that is the complete opposite of the scene you see later when Numa delivers the message to his friends in the mountain – which is not comedy at all.

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