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A sci-fi of our time, Natalia Almada’s stunning documentary considers how an imitation of life is becoming second nature.

Documentary 2021 80 mins Not rated

Director: Natalia Almada



Almada’s cool, disconnected narration references another mother who competes for her children’s affection; she exists in the orbiting satellites, the cables that cross the ocean bed, the shifting hum of electricity. ‘What will be the landscape of their childhood memories?’ Almada wonders. Conveyor belts of scrap metal, a person swimming against a manmade current: the technological stride for simulation and convenience is endless. Bennett Cerf’s cinematography floats eerily into a raging forest fire and elsewhere captures light that evokes Edward Hopper. Layered and haunting, Dave Cerf’s sound design and Kronos Quartet’s score is as crucial to the storytelling as the film’s curious lens. Striking drone footage of manmade landscapes that detail nature’s infinite patterns evokes Koyaanisqatsi. However, Users goes beyond detached observations of humanity’s domination of nature, engaging instead with the ever-shifting definition of natural.

Screened as part of the Dare strand.