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“Hi and welcome to Nostalgia, a game where thoughts leave the mind,” those are the opening lines of a virtual game where its players can meet with their fears. Written and directed by Alexan Sarikamichian and Guido Barbosch, Nostalgia is a four minute film that takes us on a journey of feelings, dreams, and the darkest thoughts of a group of teenagers who met online.

Fully shot via Zoom video calls during the pandemic, Nostalgia was born and produced from the lockdown. Alexen explains, “I was locked up and I felt I had to do something creative," so he got in touch with Guido, who also wanted to make a short film, and the idea was born. Featuring eight characters from different countries and backgrounds, the intention was “making a salad and mixing cultures and roots.” This way, the viewers could identify themselves with the protagonists.

Since most of the cast are content creators on Instagram, actors, or models, their real usernames appear while they log into the virtual game. We find them in the privacy of their bedrooms, probably still locked up due to the Covid-19 crisis, and it gives us the feeling that we are observing them from the other side of the screen.

A set of four instructions are stated. “Rule number one: don’t try to find out who you are.” or “Rule number three: don’t force the relationship with the other players.” As Guido Barbosch explains, “we are in such a strange moment that you start to wonder a little bit about everything,” especially regarding human relationships and our connection with others. “Our story revolves a little bit around that, the feelings you have for each other and how that affects our mood and day to day life.”
“Rule number four: don’t try to hold your thoughts”, and so the game starts. We can hear a mix of languages, – from Spanish and Italian to English or Russian – and voices that overlap as the participants let their thoughts flow in their native tongue. They share their dreams, their nightmares, and fears, obediently following the rules of the game.

With the directors in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the cast all around the world, the production process was definitely different. “We depended on the actors understanding every technical aspect of what we needed”, the lighting, the framing and other technical details had to be managed by the participants. And even though it was a challenge, “it was also the best thing that happened to us because they showed total commitment and responsibility.”

The reason behind Nostalgia was to get deeper into the problems that the pandemic generated for thousands of teenagers who stopped seeing each other. “Our story revolves a little bit around that, the feelings you have for each other and how that affects our mood and day to day life.” This way, the film explores human connection and self-discovery in a way that lets us, the viewers, enter the game together with its characters. Are you ready to start?

Words
Romina Román

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