The short film explores the journey of Mexican and Central American immigrants and refugees

It’s important to remember that many people who illegally cross the border into the United States are refugees. Leaving everything they know behind, they take on the arduous journey in hopes for a safer, better life. Unfortunately, they also have to deal with the negative rhetoric and portrayals, which fuels hatred and biases that cannot easily be overcome. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu recognized the plight of this group and created a virtual reality film that allows viewers to attain a first-person perspective of the journey. CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) is a deep and personal look into their lives.

Specifically, the narrative centers around Mexican and Central American people who try to cross the border from Mexico to Arizona. IñárrituI spent four years interviewing refugees and migrants to work on this project. Although a short film, Iñárritu successfully manages to get viewers to immerse themselves in the experience, getting a better understanding of what this marginalized group goes through and why.

“During the past four years in which this project has been growing in my mind, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing many Mexican and Central American refugees. Their life stories haunted me, so I invited some of them to collaborate with me in the project,” Iñárritu says. “My intention was to experiment with VR technology to explore the human condition in an attempt to break the dictatorship of the frame, within which things are just observed, and claim the space to allow the visitor to go through a direct experience walking in the immigrants’ feet, under their skin, and into their hearts.”

Although this piece is especially pertinent to U.S. current affairs, it represents the bigger picture scope of the issue—how it’s important to battle the negative discourse around refugees around the world. Often portrayed as a threat to native populations, it is easy to forget their story and their humanity.

This project is the first VR piece to be officially entered at the Cannes festival. It will also be available to see at LACMA on July 2.

CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible)

It’s important to remember that many people who illegally cross the border into the United States are refugees. Leaving everything they know behind, they take on the arduous journey in hopes for a safer, better life. Unfortunately, they also have to deal with the negative rhetoric and portrayals, which fuels hatred and biases that cannot easily be overcome. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu recognized the plight of this group and created a virtual reality film that allows viewers to attain a first-person perspective of the journey. CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) is a deep and personal look into their lives.