The seven films that unearthed human dramas of miners trapped underground

In Maimón, a municipality in the Dominican Republic, last Sunday, July 31, around 1:00 in the morning, two young miners (Dominican Gregory Alexander Méndez Torres and Colombian Carlos Yepez Ospina) were trapped more than 100 meters from the depth.

Dramas like this have been recorded in different parts of the world and several of them have been made into movies, although in some cases reality is stranger than fiction.

In Chile is the one that most remains in Latin American memory. A mine in the desert, 33 men trapped 700 meters underground, 70 days of anguish and a legendary rescue. They all live thanks to the efforts of a group of rescuers and experts. Pure epic. A screenwriter could not have imagined it so well. But it happened.

In Atacama, Chile, in August 2010, and the 33 miners saw the light. This event was turned into a movie: “Los 33” (from 2015).

The dramatic story was directed by the Mexican Patricia Riggen, shot in Chile and Colombia, and starring Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Mario Casas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juan Pablo Raba and other actors.

The collapse was in the San José mine, where the miners were down about 720 meters deep. As you remember, the eyes of the world were on Chile.

+ 2 Buried” (2018)

After a landslide occurs in a mine in Asturias, Daniel, an office technician of Argentine origin, is fortuitously trapped with a group of colleagues in the 600-meter-deep earthen pit.

From the Cinemanía review: “The novelty of a drama centered on the accident and subsequent burial of four miners highlights the work of its director and screenwriter, Luis Trapiello, who, however, avoids the rescue adventure film.”

+ 3 “Subterra” (2003)

The story takes place in the Chilean town of Lota, 1897. In the depths of Chiflón del Diablo, the largest coal mine in the world, a great rebellion is brewing in the heart of a man.

On the other hand, the aristocratic Cousiño Goyenechea family dreams of the advent of progress, the coal miners struggle to prevail over their infamous working conditions.

The Chilean film is based on the book “Subterra” by Baldomero Lillo, directed by Marcelo Ferrari and starring Francisco Reyes and Paulina Gálvez.

+ 4 “Risk Below Zero” (2021)

‘Riesgo Bajo Cero’ is an action film with no shortage of special effects and situations full of suspense, the kind that make our hands sweat. However, we must say that if there is something that draws attention about the film, it is knowing that the story is inspired by a real life event that occurred in Chile 12 years ago.

Starring Liam Neeson alongside Laurence Fishburne, Amber Midthunder, Holt McCallany, Matt McCoy, Martin Sensmeier, Matt Salinger, Paul Essiembre, among others, under the direction of Jonathan Hensleigh.

+ 5 “The Great Carnival” (1951)

Billy Wilder’s corrosive gaze is set on this occasion in the media “circuses”, which have gone further since this prophetic film of 1951.

Kirk Douglas is revealed as the perfect choice to bring to life the journalist who mocks the slogan “Tell the Truth”, “Tell the truth”, who presides over the dependencies of the small Albuquerque newspaper that employs him.

The actor embodies the passion of the profession, capable of infecting many people with that enthusiasm, but also the blind ambition that corrupts those around him, including his young and naive photographer partner.

+ 6 Miracle at Caufield Coal Mine (1977)

Inspired by true events, the plot is set in 1950 and revolves around Mr. Caufield, a coal mine owner. During Christmas, there are several explosions. His employees worry about his health and decide to strike, with no luck. One of the miners, Johnny, is determined to improve working conditions and wants the other miners to have a good vacation. However, this goes terribly wrong when they are trapped underground after an explosion. Their families are desperate to save them, worried there could be an even bigger and more deadly explosion.

+7 “Thirteen Lives” (2022)

Thirteen Lives is an American survival biographical film based on the Tham Luang cave rescue directed and produced by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by William Nicholson.

The film, available on Prime Video, stars Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, and Tom Bateman.

Somehow the story was tailor-made for a Hollywood movie with its happy ending and simple acts of heroism. The 18-day saga has already inspired a major documentary, 2020’s “The Rescue.”