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Frustrations, flirtations and family reunions – the first days of public wifi in Cuba

In 2016, many Cubans were able to access the internet for the first time when ETECSA, Cuba’s sole telecommunications provider, installed wifi routers in 18 public parks across the country. In Conectifai, the Cuban director Zoe Garcia captures the action at one such public hotspot in Havana, where people learn how to use the technology, struggle to secure bandwidth, and then connect to loved ones around the world. Using interviews, observational footage and the screens of various smartphones, Garcia absorbs us in intimate conversations between old friends and family – and in some cases new love interests. As the park expands from a place for local recreation into a venue for international, if virtual, meet-ups and reunions, other changes emerge – chairs are set up in places with a better signal, electric cords are stretched across pathways, and ‘pork cracklings with wifi’ become available. Developed through a partnership between the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema and Cuba’s International School of Film and Television (EICTV), Conectifai offers a very particular angle on Cuba’s rapidly changing culture and economy, a major shift that’s marked by the novelty of an act that is now quotidian for an ever-growing number of people around the world.

Director: Zoe Garcia

Producer: Sheyla Pool

Website: The Guardian

5 March 2018

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