For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.

Flesh and Sand

Carne y arena

United States, 2017


Based on true accounts, Carne y arena is a virtual reality installation in three acts where 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 immigrant’s personal border crossings.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Flesh and Sand Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2017 | Virtual Reality

Academy Awards

2018 | Winner: Special Achievement Award

Critics reviews

Only a self-styled auteur with high-art aspirations could earnestly devise such an elaborate installation while systematically reducing its message to a series of setpieces and loaded binaries. Its parenthetical subtitle alone is an affront to thematic subtlety, to say nothing of the egregious “U.S. / T.H.E.M.” acronym that graces the exhibit’s logo: a heart-shaped map of the border with arteries tracing the region’s topography.
January 03, 2018
Read full article
Offensive on many levels in ways that are shockingly obvious, it’s truly all that one could hope for from the auteur of Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010), and beyond, baby. And to be clear, this is not simply a bad eight-minute virtual-reality short (shot, dimly, by Emmanuel Lubezki): it’s a full-fledged bad art installation, giving the title attraction in The Square a run for its money and, boy, do I mean money.
June 23, 2017
Read full article
The widespread (and widely challenged) notion of virtual reality as “empathy machine”—as evident in the proliferation of consciousness-raising, humanitarian-themed VR works—merges here with Iñárritu’s shock-and-awe sensibility to create something at once brutalizing and trivializing, rife with irony and ripe for precisely the kind of satire that won the Palme d’Or.
June 05, 2017
Read full article