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A film by Natalia Almada

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Included on 5-disc box set Personal and Political: The Films of Natalia Almada.

Users begins with a mother’s question–will my children love the perfect machines more than they love me, their imperfect mother? She pushes the button and a smart crib lulls her crying baby to sleep, flawlessly every time. This question guides her inquiry into the intimate relationship we have with technology that is increasingly driving all aspects of our society. We explore the unintended and often dehumanizing consequences of our society's embedded belief that technological progress will lead to the betterment of humanity. Is technological progress inevitable? Are we all increasingly isolated? Do we really have agency to direct its course? Is technology an expression of our humanity or is technology destroying our humanity? The film will be a critical and intimate meditation on these questions.

Users traverses places ranging from the largest indoor vertical farm in the world to the perfect artificial wave, from an IVF embryo lab to a fiber optic cable landing. Invisible infrastructure that we all rely on is made visible. Our reliance on machines and our alienation from each other is palatable. Urgent global issues like climate change and privacy are explored from the intimate perspective of a mother thinking, worrying and loving her children.

“A dazzling documentary about the menacing nature of modern times and the fundamental beauty of cutting-edge progress.” —Indiewire

“Bracing, poetic, painterly...Users looks and sounds stunning.” —The Hollywood Reporter

“Truly moving and mind-blowing.” —Rolling Stone

“A science fiction of our time, Natalia Almada’s documentary is a standout piece of stunning nonfiction cinema.” —Sophie Brown, Sight and Sound

“Cinema at its most powerful.” —Le Monde

“Natalia Almada is brilliant... This is a film that picks up where Chris Marker left off at the end of his life in relation to what will the future look like.” —Amy Taubin

Tender, strange, visually stunning, adventuresome, surprising, and deep.” —Rebecca Solnit

Users is a momento mori — a rumination on mortality.” —The Edge

“Dazzling… The film’s triumph is keeping us on our toes by sending us into an ether where fear and wonder live hand in hand.” —Slant Magazine

“Users is a remarkably far-reaching nonfiction film.... Full of rich rewards, a feast of thought and emotion...” —Film Obsessive

“Her ideas blaze across the screen in fascinating images, beautifully edited to the strains of an original score performed by the Kronos quartet.” —Popflick

“A sprawling visual odyssey.” —Film Independent

“A poetic, dreamlike essay.” —Hollywood Soapbox

“Users is a beautifully filmed meditation on the future of motherhood and technology... many sublime (in the Kantian sense) images and sequences.” —EverOutSeattle

“Remarkable... Users shows us our possible, terrifying future.” —The Stranger

“Almada showcases how technology can take on the aims of the human mother... But as they create ease, these functions also threaten to disrupt the lineage of familiar experiences that we expect to pass down through generations.” —Screen Slate

“A beautiful film [with] grand scope... The viewer is asked to constantly make visual comparisons between the natural and the technological, between the rhythms of nature and the pulse of machines.” —Educational Media Reviews Online

Documentary Director Award, Sundance Film Festival 2021
True/False, USA 2021
Visions du Reel, Switzerland 2021
Thessoloniki documentary film festival, Greece 2021
Chicago Doc 10 2021
Sitges Film Festival
Morelia International Film Festival
Sundance Asia in Jakarta
Jerusalem International Film Festival
BFI London Film Festival
Bergen International Film festival
La Roche Sur Yon
Wexner Center for the Arts, Unorthodocs

81 minutes / Color
English; Spanish / English subtitles
Closed Captioned
Release: 2022
Copyright: 2021

For individual consumers (home video)

This title is available online from:

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Family Relations, Latin America, Mexico, Women's Studies

Related Links:
Natalia Almada Filmmaker Page

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