➤ HBO’S EQUAL,” from p.30
ment of the patrons triggered an
uprising that laid the groundwork
for subsequent trans rights activism.
Isis King plays Alexis, a character
who is not based on a specifi c
real-life person but is intended to
embody one of the trans individuals
who stood up and fought back
at the Compton Cafeteria Riots.
The third portion of the series
tells the stories of Black LGBTQ
leaders in the fi ght for queer rights.
While HBO is light on details here,
we know that Bayard Rustin will
be played by actor Keiynan Lonsdale.
Rustin worked closely with
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but
was hampered by a 1953 sodomy
conviction (he was posthumously
pardoned earlier this year).
The conviction wound up drawing
attention to his sexuality, costing
him his job as director of race
relations for Fellowship of Reconciliation
and forcing him to regain
his footing in his social circle.
The fi nal episode leads up to the
Stonewall Uprising and goes beyond
that era into the 1970s.
Among other stars on the show
include Samira Wiley, who will portray
➤ ”MOLE AGENT, from p.30
losing their intelligence and ability
to move by themselves!”
The grounds of the retirement
home are quite pretty. Alberdi offers
close-ups of its fl owers. The
building itself is full of paintings
and statues of the Virgin Mary.
Pastel shades dominate. But none
of this makes its inhabitants’
struggles any easier. Sergio has
retained his wits and seems to be
in fi ne physical shape. Quickly, he
comes across bedridden women
and a pile of walkers in the hallway.
He meets Marta, who talks on
the phone to a person pretending
to be her mother and bluntly tells
her how desperate she is.
It’s hard to resist Sergio’s charm.
But he’s acting in a story whose
exact mixture of fi ction and documentary
is hard to parse. As a
detective, Rómulo looks too good
to be true, down to his costume
of suspenders over a white shirt.
Alberdi has a writing credit, and
some scenes do feel staged. (Was
Sergio really crowned “King of the
Nursing Home” at a party?) But
Lorraine Hansberry, known as
the fi rst Black woman author to see
her play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” get
performed on Broadway. Her work
invoked themes of lesbianism and
queer rights and she even contributed
work under her initials to the
Daughters of Bilitis’ newsletter.
Theo Germaine will play gender
non-conforming Montanan Jack
Starr, Jamie Clayton will portray
trans celebrity Christine Jorgensen,
and Jai Rodriguez will star as
José Sarria, who unsuccessfully
ran for offi ce in 1961 as an out gay
candidate for the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors. Hailie Sahar
will play New York trans icon Sylvia
Rivera, while Sam Pancake will
star as Dick Leitsch, the Mattachine
Society president who participated
in the “Sip-In” at Julius’ Bar
in New York. It’s not clear if Marsha
P. Johnson will be featured.
Cole Doman will play Mark Segal,
a founder of the Gay Liberation
Front and Philadelphia Gay News,
and Scott Turner Schofi eld will
portray Craig Rodwell, who also
participated in the “Sip-In,” was
involved in the Stonewall Uprising,
and founded the Oscar Widle Memorial
Sergio is also incapable of a seamless
performance, the women at
the nursing home even less so. The
artifi ce jostles uneasily against the
unmistakable end-of-life moments
“The Mole Agent” arrives at a
conclusion about the oppressiveness
of nursing homes and the
loneliness of many senior citizens
that’s both predictable and
laudable. They’ve proved to be
deathtraps during COVID, even
in countries with a more humane
healthcare system than America’s.
But many of the residents of the
San Francisco Nursing Home are
incapable of taking care of themselves.
The cuteness of its early
moments turns into something
more akin to Dennis Lehane and
Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,”
except that Alberdi’s tone remains
much lighter and, most importantly,
old age isn’t a plot twist.
THE MOLE AGENT | Directed by
Maite Alberdi | Gravitas Ventures
| In Spanish with English subtitles
| Available on streaming platforms
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GayCityNews.com | September 10 - September 23, 2020 31