There’s a strange irony that comes with technological progression. In our pursuit of creating impactful, scaled solutions to our problems, humanity often creates even more questions in their place. Soon, technology will evolve so rapidly that it will drive and even dominate all aspects of society. What might remain of humanity in that moment, and have we already arrived there? Consequently, are we more isolated from one another? Do we have any agency to stop it? There are no simple answers for these questions, but USERS attempts to answer them through the language of meditative yet evocative cinema, nonetheless.
Winning for Best Directing, U.S. Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021, USERS is the first English-language effort by 2012 MacArthur “Genius” Awardee Natalia Almada. Autobiographical at times yet addressing humanity in general, Almada asks what the world will be like for her child and whether she is comfortable with his potential loss of human agency in a “technopoly.” Supported by Bennett Cerf’s astounding photography and a dreamy score compiled by Dave Cerf and featuring the Kronos Quartet and flautist Claire Chase, USERS takes on the tone of a work that reflects on an anthropological past that is, indeed, our uncanny present.
This film is presented as part of the New American Perspectives program in partnership with the Vilcek Foundation. HIFF is honored to feature director Natalia Almada as a 2021 program participant. A special extended discussion with director Natalia Almada will be available during the Festival via the HIFF streaming platform and on the HIFF Facebook page.