Stranded: I've Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains

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Stranded: I've Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains
Directed by Gonzalo Arijon
Zeitgeist Films
Opens October 22, Film Forum

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Stranded is the rare movie less complex and interesting than its press kit. In revisiting the story of the Uruguayan soccer team that crashed in the Andes in 1972 and survived via pragmatic cannibalism, director Gonzalo Arijon finds himself simultaneously profiling and valorizing many of his own childhood friends. Unfortunately, that makes for an overly sympathetic approach that allows people with a set narrative to reiterate key talking points. At a windy two hours plus, most of Stranded deals with the broadest outlines of the horrific ordeal; much time is devoted to the survivors' vague musings on what their micro-society says about Civilization, Fate, et al. Was their mountain commune really a lab experiment for rewriting the social contract? Probably not, but Arijon does a remarkably poor job of delving into the specifics. The film's length may well be intended to mirror the 72-day ordeal, but it's relentlessly wearing and lacking in nutritive fiber. You won't find, for example, the grizzly tidbit about the survivors eating human flesh in front of the rescue team and press when their saviors themselves ran out of powdered soup. Arijon alternates between Kevin Macdonald re-creations on faux-grainy 16mm footage and interviews on the mountain; neither approach works especially well.

 
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