Maite Alberdi’s ‘The Mole Agent’
By Dana Kendall
September’s slate of Sundance Institute–supported releases features a strong lineup of documentaries that run the gamut from the heartwarming to the harrowing. On the human connection side of the spectrum, Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent follows 83-year-old Sergio, who goes undercover to investigate a nursing home but bungles the spy-gear technology and can’t seem to stay on course with the mission. An all-in-one uplifting, cutely funny but meaningful tearjerker, it’s the film we all need in 2020.
For a deep dive into the power of social media, check out Sundance alum Jeff Orlowski’s eye-opening exposé The Social Dilemma or the award-winning Feels Good Man, in which director Arthur Jones documents how the comic book character Pepe the Frog got co-opted by the far right and explores what it would take to reclaim it.
This month’s dramas include Julie Taymor’s nontraditional biopic of feminist icon Gloria Steinem in five acts, with a stellar cast including Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Bette Midler, and Janelle Monáe. And in Miranda July’s absurd comedy Kajillionaire, Evan Rachel Wood stars as born-and-raised con artist Old Dolio, whose next family heist gets interrupted by bubbly stranger Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), making for a late coming-of-age story ripe with charming on-screen chemistry.
Explore the full list of September releases below.
The Mole Agent (VOD)
Directed by Maite Alberdi
When a family becomes concerned about their mother’s well-being in a retirement home, private investigator Romulo hires Sergio, an 83 year-old man who becomes a new resident—and a mole—inside the facility, who struggles to balance his assignment with becoming increasingly involved in the lives of several residents.
Feels Good Man (VOD)
Directed by Arthur Jones
When indie comic character Pepe the Frog becomes an unwitting icon of hate, his creator, artist Matt Furie, fights to bring Pepe back from the darkness and navigate America’s cultural divide.
The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
Directed by Jeff Orlowski
Never before have a handful of tech designers had such control over the way billions of us think, act, and live our lives. Insiders from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube reveal how these platforms are reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen.
Our Time Machine (Virtual Cinemas)
Directed by Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang
Shaken by the news of his father’s dementia, artist Maleonn creates “Papa’s Time Machine,” a wondrous time-travel adventure performed on stage with life-size mechanical puppets. Through the play’s production, he confronts his own mortality. Maleonn finds grace and unexpected joy in this moving meditation on art, the agonies of love and loss, and the circle of life.
Softie (Virtual Cinemas)
Directed by Sam Soko
Boniface Mwangi is daring and audacious and recognized as Kenya’s most provocative photojournalist. But he is a father of three young children, and these qualities create tremendous turmoil between him and his wife, Njeri. When he wants to run for political office, he is forced to choose: country or family?
Kajillionaire (In Theaters Sept. 25, VOD ~Oct. 16)
Directed by Miranda July
Low-stakes grifter Old Dolio and her parents invite a chipper young woman into their insular clan, only to have their entire world turned upside down.
The Glorias (Amazon Prime)
Directed by Julie Taymor
An equal-rights crusader, journalist, and activist—Gloria Steinem embodies these and more. From her role in the revolutionary women’s rights movement to her travels throughout the U.S. and around the world, Steinem has made an everlasting mark on modern history. A nontraditional chronicle of a trailblazing life.