Mexico City, Mexico — Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu said he was “deeply moved” after receiving a special Oscar for the creation of his installation of virtual reality Carne y arena, given by the Academy of Hollywood during the ceremony of honorary awards.
Iñárritu and his partner, the director of photography Emmanuel “El Chivo” Lubezki, joined their talents to build an artistic experience in which virtual reality and symbolism place the viewer at the very heart of the undocumented immigrants who they cross to the United States from Mexico.
“I dedicate it to the millions of immigrants around the world who have been denied their reality, kidnapped by politics and ideologies that do not let the world see what is happening to them,” said the artist on the red carpet.
“I do not know if this drop of water will make any difference, but it is an attempt to transform people, especially those who are prejudiced about immigrants. Hopefully they will explore this and have a better understanding of the situation,” he added.
He said that this recognition was “very unexpected” since the project was born “without commercial intentions.”
“It was an exploration, an experiment. This is not cinema, but it is the birth of a new art. It will be used to disengage and for lucrative and vulgar commercial purposes, but also to offer amazing artistic experiences. The new generations will take you to unimaginable places. If it develops artistically and is subordinated to human emotion, it will be something wonderful, ” he said.
“It is a very beautiful recognition,” said his compatriot Guillermo del Toro, adding “it is an art of denunciation and discussion at the service of a very painful reality of which there is talk politically. The beautiful thing is that Alejandro has started to create the syntax of virtual reality. It’s like when Lumière rolled the arrival of the train.”
Based on the testimonies of several immigrants, Iñárritu, who presented the work in the last edition of the Cannes Festival, devised this hyperrealist work that places the viewer in the middle of the Sonoran desert.
There he shares the drama of a group of undocumented immigrants who, led by a “coyote”, a human smuggler who try to enter US territory while immigration agents try to arrest them.
For its part, the other component of “the three friends”, Alfonso Cuarón , said that Iñárritu and Lubezki “are breaking down barriers and pushing the limits of the cinema”.
Once the red carpet finished, which was performed by artists such as Jennifer Lawrence , Emma Stone , Justin Timberlake , Robert Pattinson , Margot Robbie , Jessica Chastain or Hugh Jackman , among others, Iñárritu spoke inside the Ray Dolby Ballroom, Hollywood & Highland Center.
After recognizing Lubezki’s work, without which Carne y Arena “would not be what it is”, he wanted to thank del Toro y Cuarón “for his wise and dangerous advice” and remember his wife and children, with whom, he said, shares “immigrant awareness”.
In his speech, Iñárritu wanted to dedicate a few words to the 800 ,000 dreamers who lost their immigration protection as a result of the decision of the White House to annul Deferred Action (DACA).
“I wish the politicians looked in the eyes of those people to know their stories. If they did, they would see reality, they would understand it. If they did, they would love those people,” said the 54-year-old filmmaker.
During the event, the Academy awarded honorary Oscars to Canadian actor Donald Sutherland , Belgian filmmaker Agnès Varda, US scriptwriter and director Charles Burnett and New York director of photography Owen Roizman.
“It makes me feel good to receive this Oscar, I must admit,” said Varda. “I take it as a recognition of my 60-year career. Thank you for shedding light on French cinema. I have dedicated my life to find the essence of this art,” he said.