8.8/10
54
1 user 2 critic

Carne y Arena (2017)

Based on true accounts, the superficial lines between subject and bystander are blurred and bound together, allowing individuals to walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees' personal journeys.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Omar Castaneda
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Storyline

Based on true accounts, the superficial lines between subject and bystander are blurred and bound together, allowing individuals to walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees' personal journeys.

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Genres:

Short | Drama

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Release Date:

2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carne y arena  »

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Trivia

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to present a Special Award (an Oscar statuette) to director Alejandro G. Iñárritu's virtual reality installation, "CARNE y ARENA (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible)," in recognition of a visionary and powerful experience in storytelling. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Virtual, magical reality
29 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

To review a new medium can be a daunting task. How to keep your familiarity with the previous form from influencing your impressions of the newer one too much? When film started to establish itself, the common references were to vaudevilles and stage shows; with VR we have film and video games. Iñárritu's "Flesh and Sand" (translation of the original title in Spanish), is a cinematographic and interactive work, but with clever additions that add to the experience beyond what film and video games usually offer. With tactile elements like sand you walk on and refrigerated rooms (which could be site-specific to the Centro Cultural Tlatelolco, where I attended the experience), in addition to the VR audiovisual elements, "Sangre y Arena" becomes something of a museum-like installation or happening.

We are placed somewhere in the desert along the Mexico-U.S. border with a group of Latin American migrants as they are detained and questioned by U.S. border police. This being a post-"Biutiful" Iñárritu work, what unfolds doesn't just stick to reality, and magical realism takes hold when the migrants start telling us their stories and reasons for braving the crossing. This audiovisual segment is somewhat short at 11 minutes, but it is of note how fast these 11 minutes go by thanks to the storytelling being so engaging (and the novelty of it all). After the VR short, the experience is not over as the installation aspect continues with interviews with the real migrants whose stories inspired and informed the entire experience.

Overall, "Sangre y Arena" is an innovative way to experience storytelling. While the low probability of most future "auteur VR" having the means to provide the tactile elements of this experience somewhat puts in doubt the viability of this specific type of storytelling, the possibility of a bright future is definitely heralded with this work, not just for viewers but hopefully for migrants and other vulnerable people as well, whose shoes we are closer to being in thanks to the immersiveness of stories like this one.


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