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“Technology Hasn’t Taken Away the Longing to Hug”: Director Natalia Almada | Users


How did events of 2020—any of them—change your film, either in the way you approached it, produced it, post-produced it, or are now thinking about it?

One of many of the long lasting repercussions of COVID is that it radically and fundamentally changed our relationship to technology. Whether to Zoom with grandma or have business meetings, order groceries or clothes, take an exercise class or attend school. We’ve all become dependent not only on the technology in our homes but on the invisible infrastructure that sustains it—by which I mean everything from the fiber optic cables that carry our digital data to the trains, highways and ships that transport our goods, to the scientists searching for vaccines. It is a wonder that humankind has imagined and built all this which today allows us to continue our lives and feel somewhat connected despite the stay-at-home orders and social distancing. And yet technology hasn’t taken away the longing to hug or to sit in a crowded cinema. Or when I look at my two- and four-year-olds in their little masks trying to read all their social cues from half-covered faces or watching them “talk” to a relative on my cell phone I can’t help but feel unease. Users holds these kinds of opposing truths in balance. It both looks at technology with awe and wonder and also at its unintended and long term consequences. While this film was started before COVID and is not directly about COVID, I think this moment in time will make this film feel particularly personal to all of us.

(Check back daily during the festival — new answers are uploaded on the day of each film’s premiere. Read all the responses here.)

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