Maite Alberdi is making history! With The Mole Agent, she has demonstrated her capacity to make films that touch people globally, films that are empathetic and deep, with humor and wit, portraying universal narratives that defend a transversal cause: the rights of senior citizens.
We’re on the eve of the Goya Awards, and with the nomination of The Mole Agent for Best Iberoamerican Film, Maite could MAKE HISTORY in becoming the first female Chilean director to win the distinction as well as the first documentary in the world to win the category.
Also on the agenda is the announcement of the Oscar nominations, where it’s shortlisted in two categories (Best Documentary and Best Foreign Language Film), another double landmark for Chilean cinema.
Amid so much excitement and hubbub, we wanted to take a second to hold a magnifying glass (like Sergio’s!) to Maite’s career, and pay homage through 5 milestones that have distinguished her cinema.
1.- A NEW VOICE IS BORN IN THE NATIONAL FILM SCENE
From the start, it was evident that Maite’s authorial style was something completely different and unprecedented, leaving her mark on the national scene. With short films like Reel Down (2004), The Trapeze Artists (2005), and The Hairdressers (2007), we saw her interest in creating stories out of an acute observation of the simplicity of the everyday.
The Lifeguard (IDFA, 2011), her first feature film, continued to deepen this observant and perceptive gaze, full of laughter and moving details. The portrait of a lifeguard working on a Chilean beach generated many conversations about the national idiosyncrasy and documentary poetics.
Maite Alberdi, a director who, from the very beginning, has generated debate, laughter, intrigue, and never-before-seen cinematic worlds!
2.- HER FIRST GOYA NOMINATION
In 2016 we saw Maite take a great international leap with Tea Time, which among many other recognitions, was the first documentary nominated for the Goya Award for Best Iberoamerican Film.
In portraying the friendship rituals of a circle of elderly women who have known each other for more than 60 years, the film creates a masterful balance between what is intimate and what is universal. From that point on, this became a characteristic in all of Maite’s work.
This universality managed to captivate global audiences, and Tea Time won awards in Colombia (FICCI), South Korea (EIDF), Mexico (FICG), United States (MIAMI), and the Netherlands (IDFA), among many others.
It also positioned senior citizens as a focal point in her work, something that we would later see in I'm Not From Here (2016) and The Mole Agent (2020).
3.- HER AUTHOR-DRIVEN GAZE PLAYS WITH REALITY
Known worldwide for her cinematic signature, Maite has created a unique style that mixes drama with humor, the absurd with the heartwarming, and mise en scene with reality.
In daring to push these limits, she has made it clear that no matter the world or characters she decides to portray, her authorial vision transcends, and no one remains indifferent.
4.- HER WORK CAPTIVATES GLOBAL AUDIENCES
In The Grown-Ups (2016), Maite focused her gaze on a group of friends with Down Syndrome who have been attending the same school for more than 40 years.
The film delves into a never-before-approached social phenomenon that has to do with an ever-growing life expectancy of persons with Down Syndrome and the quality of life to which they have access as adults.
With few possibilities for social growth due to the scarcity of labor inclusion, the film also examines their romantic relationships, interpersonal dynamics, hopes, and achievements. Thus, Maite manages to integrate the dichotomy between the social and intimate spheres, between personal and political.
The film achieved a key role in the discussion of a Law of Labor Inclusion in 2017, which integrated people with intellectual disabilities. Once again, Maite demonstrated that the power of cinema transcends the screen.
5.- SHE KEEPS MAKING HISTORY WITH THE MOLE AGENT
With The Mole Agent, Maite is making history on many different fronts! With much pride and admiration, we want to highlight all the achievements that Maite and her film are attaining for the first time:
- Having been shortlisted for the Oscars in two categories: Best Documentary and Best Foreign Language Film
- Having been selected by the Chilean Film Academy to represent Chile for international awards.
- For a Chilean documentary to represent Chile in the international category at the Oscars.
- That a female Chilean director has been shortlisted for the Oscars, not to mention in two categories!
Maite Alberdi is making history for Chilean cinema!