Just in anticipation of his presence at the 2021 Oscar Awards, the documentary "The Topo Agent" will be shown on open TV next Friday, April 23 .
TVN announced that it will broadcast the work of Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez in prime time (after 24 Hours Central) only two days before competing in the Oscars for Best Documentary .
"Agent Topo", which has been on Netflix since February, follows Don Sergio infiltrated into a nursing home. It is the fourth Chilean production to be nominated for an Oscars and the first headed by women. The ceremony is set for April 25 .
The Chilean documentary "El Agent Topo" ("The Mole Agent"), by Maite Alberdi, will debut on open television. As reported by Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) through its social networks this Friday, April 9, it will be released on the public channel on Friday, April 23.
The play will be broadcast in primetime. The film debuted a year ago at Sundance. Then it was nominated for the Oscars, where it competes as Best Documentary. The other nominees are "Collective", "Crip Camp", "My octopus Teacher" and "Time". If obtained, it would be the third Oscar after "Story of a Bear" (Best Short in 2016) and "A Fantastic Woman" (Best Foreign Film in 2018).
'The mole agent' | "We are living more, but we do not want to live more": Maite Alberdi, director of the Chilean documentary nominated for the Oscar
When the final scene of "The Topo Agent", the Chilean documentary directed by Maite Alberdi arrives, more than one viewer will be left with the feeling that it is a fictional film.
And the main reason for this is perhaps the honesty with which the characters who wander through this beautiful window to life in a home for the elderly in Chile relate their lives. And how Alberdi's lens manages to capture that brutal honesty.
Perhaps that is also the reason why "The Mole Agent" is one of the five films nominated for Best Documentary Feature for the Oscars, to be held on Sunday, April 25.
In this film we studied many references to film noir and we tried to see what could be done with film noir in reality. That was like the main challenge.
In other words, how to take this form to a documentary and to a nursing home. And how to achieve the contrasts of light, the angles, the colors, the music ... all this transversally in the film.
It was a reference study and, above all, of how to land that reference to what could actually be done in reality, which could not have large machines: let's see, we were four people.
We were a super-small team trying to standardize giant fictions, which have all the resources to do those effects. Ours was like the real, documentary version of the stereotype of how to make detective movies.
A fter watching it, there remains the doubt that the film is not a documentary, but a fiction. ..
Of course, people start from that, that it is a fiction. And then they realize it's real. And when they realize it, there is another level of identification, empathy and automatic connection with the story.
And I think it becomes universal there. The reaction of many is 'I want to call my mother, my father, my grandfather'. It has happened to us a lot that people who see the film have started to wonder 'how do I relate to my grandfather, how long have I called him, how long have I been going to see him?'
And that is unbelievable. I think the film has that grace that, by starting with this half-funny spy thing that doesn't work for him, who is the worst spy in the world, it takes you to a plot or to a deep and painful experience but from a super light excuse and nice.
Perhaps if you were invited to see a movie of two old men abandoned in a home, nobody would see it, but from this narrative excuse people connect and the journey takes you to another place.
¿ How was the work of making a documentary where there was an undercover detective, elderly ...?
Filming lasted four months. First we recorded all of Sergio's training (Chamy, the 83-year-old protagonist) in the office. Then we went in to record the home before Sergio entered, with the excuse that we were making a movie about that place.
And then when he walks in, we pretended we didn't know him. He was inside for three months and we were there every day.
It was quite an exercise of waiting and watching and getting people used to what we were doing. Where Sergio was one more in that home, both for the people who lived there and for us. I mean, I couldn't define him right there as the protagonist, because I was actually making a documentary of all of them.
That waiting allowed the characters to be so open, so honest ...
That success is because he has that openness. Two things happen in the movie. One is that, in the process of filming it, people open up to the camera and tell us what it's like to live there and they treat us as one more.
And it also happens that Sergio is an older person who is willing to live an experience and listen to others. And that is new for them because they are people who are not being listened to, so when someone new arrives, a new friend to listen to you and listen to you, they all start to tell you and they all start to create bonds.
And Sergio too. Let's see, Sergio also started this whole process with a prejudice. He said that these ladies had dementia and 'how am I going to relate to them, I'm going to go crazy' and he ends up being the best friend of these ladies.
In that turn that he gives, as he gives us, too, an impulse to break prejudices and dedicate time to these people so that they flourish and generate those special connections. And that is very nice.
C onfes Aste Sergio wanted to withdraw r the first day because "I did not want to become those people , " How was it working with him?
Was a present. But at the same time it was delicate, because it was an older person who is exposing himself, who was left very vulnerable, without family support because I couldn't take care of him inside either.
It was a risky movie. Indeed, the first day he wanted to go and called his son, but they convinced him to stay. They told him 'you are not going to become one more, because you are here working and we are going to come look for you'.
But beyond the promise, he still panicked.
And I think that over time he also realized how lucky he was, that he had children who were making him a promise and who were actually going to look for him and were taking him to live with him.
I think that after the movie he values his family even more. In other words, he always values his family and has a good relationship with her that he built for a long time, but I also think that he valued that relationship after seeing the cases at home and comparing them with his own family situation.
I think it was delicate because something could happen to us every day. From the time they discovered him - and we said 'tomorrow they are going to find out because he is speaking out loud and this movie is over because they are going to throw him out' - until he felt emotionally unprotected because he was working on a case that was complex.
There are many things that are difficult for an elderly person, in addition to being outside their home, with people they did not know and in a place they did not want to be.
The film begins with many older adults who want the job of detective, does this not provide evidence about the reality of older adults in Chile?
That speaks to me of an important reality of older people who need to work and it also speaks of the bad pension system that exists in Chile.
And on the other hand, it also talks about how these older adults want to be active and do not want to be isolated. I think the film portrays an age in a very different way.
There are these gentlemen who need the salary but also want to be part of society versus the others who have dementia and are isolated: one of them who talks about wanting to get married, another who misses her healthy son. We cannot make a univocal discourse about what is to be older and what is the third age in the world.
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