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Carne y Arena 2017
Description: Based on real accounts, the superficial lines between topics and bystander are blurred and bound together, allowing individuals to walk in a vast zone and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees' private journeys.
Released: N/A Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu Writers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu Actors: Hector Luis Bustamante, Christopher Abram, Omar Castaneda, Toy Lei Genres: Short, Drama
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Carne y Arena Reviews:

I was a bit apprehensive to attend 'Carne y Arena', but in the end my curiosity took over. And I am yet unsure whether I am satisfied with this choice. That does not mean I was disappointed. On the contrary, I would say. I felt and somehow still feel overwhelmed. 'Carne y Arena' feels as various from a film as a pixar film feels from a charcoal drawing.I read about audiences ducking bullets that were fired onscreen in the very first films that were made. Ridiculous as that may sound to our ears in this day and age, I myself have a better understanding now. When I would have my hundredth VR-experience, I would know that being able to see in three dimensions would not mean that I am now dealing with reality. Until yesterday I did not have that experience. Not ever. So I physically reacted as if what I saw was real, as if I was truly ambushed by a border patrol. And honestly, I have never felt such acute anxiety. I had a stomach ache that should have made me vomit. And it lasted until after it was done.Do I have a better understanding actually what it means tot be an immigrant? Perhaps yes, maybe no. But I do feel I have a better understanding of the horrors they are willing to undergo to create that journey. I will not pretend to know what it feels to be yelled at at gunpoint, but 'Carne y Arena' goes far out of its method to receive as close as possible. And it left me lost for words.


To review a fresh medium can be a daunting task. How to hold your familiarity with the previous form from influencing your impressions of the newer one too much? When movie started to establish itself, the common references were to vaudevilles and scene shows; with VR we have movie and video games. Iñárritu's "Flesh and Sand" (translation of the original game in Spanish), is a cinematographic and interactive work, but with intelligent additions that add to the experience beyond what movie and video minigames usually offer. With tactile elements like sand you walk on and refrigerated rooms (which should 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 keep when the migrants begin saying us their stories and reasons for braving the crossing. This audiovisual segment is somewhat short at 11 minutes, but it is of note how quick these 11 mins 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 true migrants whose stories inspired and informed the whole experience.Overall, "Carne y Arena" is an innovative method to experience storytelling. While the weak probability of most future "auteur VR" having the means to deliever the tactile elements of this experience somewhat puts in doubt the viability of this specific kind of storytelling, the chance of a bright future is definitely heralded with this work, not just for viewers but hopefully for migrants and another vulnerable folks as well, whose shoes we are closer to being in thanks to the immersiveness of stories like this one.



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