Numa & Marcelo In ‘Society Of The Snow’: Why Was Numa The Narrator Of The Film?


Marcelo Perez del Castillo and Numa Turcatti were two people in Society of the Snow who took charge of things in the first few days after the Uruguayan crash and made sure that they took care of everybody who survived. So, let’s find out what was going on in their minds, what kind of conflict they went through, and why the director chose Numa to be the narrator of Society of the Snow film.

Spoiler Alert

How did Marcelo’s leadership help the others?

What amazed me the most after watching the Society of the Snow was how the passengers, even while being stuck in such a horrifying situation, were able to gather themselves and act very sensibly. That is why I believe that each and every person who survived the crash and who was stuck there for days was the protagonist of the story. Generally, we see that in such situations, people get paranoid, and the only thing they want to do in that panic-stricken mode is to save themselves, even if it comes at the cost of putting the lives of others at risk. This did not happen during the Uruguayan plane crash in 1972 (at least that’s how it is depicted in the film). But still, even when everybody dealt with the situation in a very sensible manner, there was a need for someone to take the initiative and tell the others what they should do. Marcelo Perez del Castillo became that person for the time he was alive, and he made sure that everybody survived. Marcelo was the one who was helpful about the fact that a rescue team would come to take them and that they would just have to hold tight and survive somehow until then.

Together with Roberto, Numa, Nando, Roy, Tintin, and others, Marcelo tried his level best to create a warm and cozy shelter inside the broken plane, but the cold was too bitter, and nothing stopped the chilling winds from piercing the bodies of the passengers. There came a time in Society of the Snow when the survivors had nothing to eat, and the question that came in front of them was a life-altering one: whether they were ready to resort to cannibalism. Marcelo, Numa, and a few others were of the opinion that they should not do that, as it was blasphemous even to think about it. But then there was another school of thought, where people like Roberto believed that they should do whatever was in their hands to survive. Some said they didn’t believe in God, and some said that if God had been there, they would not have found themselves in that kind of situation. Marcelo and Numa both held onto their beliefs and let the others do whatever they wanted to. Days passed, and they heard on the transistor that the rescue operation had been stopped due to the extreme weather and that the authorities were of the opinion that none of the passengers had survived. It was a huge blow, and instantly, the morale of all the people dropped. They didn’t know what to do, as the only silver lining in that dark, stormy sky was also taken away from them. Marcelo felt responsible for increasing everybody else’s hopes, and he apologized to them for it. Marcelo asked everybody to eat human flesh, as he saw that there was no point holding onto ethics and principles and that saving lives was more important than one’s religious beliefs.

Why did Numa resort to cannibalism?

Numa was the moral compass of the group. He was a pious man, and for him to even imagine that they could resort to cannibalism was not possible. Numa’s friends loved him, and they kept making him understand why he had to eat. They didn’t want him to die in front of their eyes. Nando knew that his life wouldn’t be half as happy if Numa wasn’t around to share it. But Numa didn’t give up for the longest time. He shed a lot of weight, and when his body was found by the authorities, it was said that it weighed only 55 pounds. While trying to get out of the plane, which was submerged in snow, Numa got hurt in his leg, and because the infections spread throughout his body, he got very weak, considering he was not eating either. That’s when Nando literally fed him, and Numa, with tears in his eyes and a very heavy heart, gulped it down. 

Why Was Numa The Narrator?

The entire world would have judged the survivors when they would have gotten to know that they resorted to cannibalism. The director, JA Bayona, didn’t want his audience to have any preconceived notions and he wanted everybody to see the story of the survivors through their eyes, especially from someone’s perspective who didn’t survive. The audience gets to witness the kind of dilemma they were in and what was at stake for them that coerced them to make that choice. They didn’t want to do it, but it was their life against doing something so bizarre at that time. I cannot even imagine the kind of thoughts they would have had and how helpless they would have felt in that moment. Moreover, they would have to deal with the trauma their entire lives, which was why the director probably wanted us to look at things from the perspective of those who were stuck there and not have a prejudiced take on things.

Did Marcelo and Numa survive?

Marcelo and Numa both did not survive, and they met their fateful end in the harsh terrain of the Andes mountains. An avalanche hit the broken plane where the passengers were sitting, and Marcelo wasn’t able to make it out alive. Numa, on the other hand, survived for quite a long time, but he could literally see that death was approaching him and that he wouldn’t be able to stay alive for long. His wound also couldn’t heal, and the infection spread through his body. Before taking his last breaths, Numa wrote a letter to his friends. He told them that he didn’t have an ounce of regret as he had sacrificed his life for his friends. He hoped that they lived their share of life, too, and would be happy in their lives. Those words became the turning point, and it was after reading the note that Roberto made the decision that they would have to climb the peak and try to find help.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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