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Damascene the worst spy in the Oscars.

Meet Sergio Chamy whose surname means Damascene in Arabic – who is the world’s most unlikely spy. Syrian-Chilean octogenarian newly born star Sergio Chamy who played the main character The Mole Agent documentary, is the son of a Syrian immigrant who arrived in Chile in the early 20th century. At the age of seventeen, Sergio Chamy began working with his Syrian father in the clothing trade. However, no one would have predicted that this Syrian emigrant would get an Oscar nomination in his eighties.

In the movie, Sergio plays the role of a recently widowed Chilean octogenarian who answers a newspaper classified-based call for a retired, independent, discreet elderly male who is competent with technology. After a successful interview with the hiring private investigator Romulo Aitken, Sergio is briefed on the actual details of his covert mission.

At the age of 83, Sergio Chamy got the opportunity of a long lifetime—the chance to go undercover to spy out possible skullduggery at an old folks home in his native Chile. The assignment would take all his observational skills and technical capacities.

There was only one problem.

“He was the worst spy in the world,” declares Maite Alberdi, director of The Mole Agent, a charmer of a film that documents Sergio’s sometimes inept but always earnest attempts to accomplish his secret mission. The Mole Agent, which premiered in competition at Sundance last January, is not only contending for Best Documentary at the Oscars, but is also Chile’s official selection as Best International Film for the Academy Awards.

Sergio needs to become a resident at the San Francisco Retirement Home for at least three months, so he can report on the ongoing care of the client’s mother Sonia Perez. Of the firm belief that her mother is being mistreated and even robbed, the client wants Sergio to detail anything that doesn’t look right.

After he wins the gig, Sergio learns that he’ll be infiltrating a retirement home, armed with a pen that has a mini-camera, and thick-rimmed glasses with a camera inside as well. Sergio's mission is to make sure that one client’s mother, who is at the facility, is not being abused, or having her things stolen. It's a job that the stoic 83 year-old will take on with his clear sense of pride, and compassion —if he can just figure out his iPhone first. For however appealing and sporadically quirky it is, "The Mole Agent" is an earnest look at old age, and a community full of people just like Sergio.

The Mole Agent is a 2020 internationally co-produced documentary film directed by Maite Alberdi. It was screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. At the 93rd Academy Awards, It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and was selected as the Chilean entry for Best International Feature Film, making the shortlist of fifteen films.

Sergio performance was so comparable to Meryl Streep saying "Acting is not about being someone different. It's finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there." How many Syrians have found themselves wherever they settle.

Lama Alhassanieh

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