The Cleaner
El límpiador

Film Info
Section:New Directors
Premiere Status:Peru
Year of Prod:2012
Running Time:95
Original Language:Spanish
Awards:New Directors Prize Contender
dir:Adrián Saba
prod:Carolina Denegri
Adrián Saba
scr:Adrián Saba
cam:César Fe
editor:Justin Beach
mus:Karin Zielinski
cast:Victor Prada
Adrian Du Bois
source:Film Republic
91 Great Russell Street

A mysterious epidemic rapidly eviscerating Lima’s adult population—but sparing its children—has left the Peruvian capital a ghost ship of automated fountains, empty subway cars and eerily disembodied voices over PA systems. Some intrepid souls in respirator masks still wander its deserted streets, however, whether from habit or necessity, including Eusebio Vela (played by a stone-faced, quietly agitated Victor Prada), a solitary middle-aged bachelor who works as a forensic cleaner. While on the job, disposing of bodies and chemically scouring their environments, he finds a traumatized boy (Adrian Du Bois), the latest in a burgeoning number of orphans. When passing him off to harried civic authorities proves futile, Eusebio reluctantly brings the child home and begins searching for an adult relative who can take him. Meanwhile, almost wordlessly, a bond develops and a transformation ensues as paternal instinct bridges a once comfortable isolation. Writer-director Adrián Saba’s debut feature, a gently haunted and affecting study of social alienation and redemption, employs its bizarrely unpeopled cityscape (captured with studied composure by DP César Fe) as the operative metaphor for an inner barrenness—personified in Prada’s subtle performance, but ultimately extending to a civilization that has abandoned its children in unconscious retreat from reality.
-Robert Avila


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Additional Information

Adrián Saba

Born in Madrid in 1988, Adrián Saba moved to Peru when his Peruvian father and Dutch mother relocated there in 1993. He studied film at Hofstra University in New York. His short-form graduate thesis film, El Rio (2010), screened and won prizes at various international festivals. He founded Flamingo Films in 2011, and joined La Gris Films not long afterward. The Cleaner marks his feature film debut.