In October of 1962, a rugby team from Montevideo, Uruguay boarded a plane for Chile to play a much-anticipated match. Leaving their pregnant wives, sons and daughters, family and admirers at the airport, the plane departs into what would become a horrific and inspiring story of primal human nature and overwhelming compassion and will.

Amid a torrid, snowy Chilean winter the plane crashes into the desolate tundra. One survivor’s statement of “It was the first time we ever saw snow,” does not begin to describe the battle of the elements undergone in two desperate months of being lost and untraceable. Stranded depicts the virtually impossible and sometimes unthinkable; 45 people departed on the fateful flight and only 16 men managed to survive on near insanity and gut feeling.

Most of the world’s infamous tragedies leave little or no actual testimony behind, creating an open-air market for interpretation and dramatization by those attempting to re-create them. Stranded, however, directed by Gonzalo Arijon, defies these theatrical conventions. A childhood friend of many of this story’s survivors, Arijon’s film has an inherent sensitivity and due respect that’s apparent in his tasteful employment of testimony from the survivors, archival footage and realistically subdued reenactments.

Grade: A

Stranded releases in select theaters Nov. 7.