Guest post by Claire Brosman
Grant writer & storyteller for non-profits. Better composter than gardener. Obsessed with good food and where it comes from.
In the way of stories, what THE CLEANER offers isn’t new. Eusebio Vela is a forensic cleaner during an epidemic sweeping Lima, Peru. He is lonely. Joaquin, an orphan, enters his life. Eusebio is changed. We all know that story and have seen a life transformed on screen again and again.
But the thing is the control first-time director Adrian Saba brings to the film makes the story its own. Saba builds a world void of distractions and lets you linger in Eusebio’s life and his revelations. Dialogue is sparse, the soundtrack used sparingly and the takes are long and static. It’s beautiful to let the story unfold before you quietly and at its own pace, never compromising the story by telling too much. Really though, my screener paused mid-film and I didn’t notice anything was awry for a few seconds.
THE CLEANER is a Spanish-language film, but highlighting it as such hardly seems relevant. Dialogue doesn’t dominate the story; you’ll take in the characters’ experiences and emotions through Eusebio’s low hung head and Joaquin’s furrowed eyebrows. A rarely employed soundtrack accompanies only a few scenes drawing focus instead to the sounds of the Eusebio’s broom on the pavement as he alone washes away death in the wake of the epidemic, the swishing of his suit as he moves from job to job or the sound of his breath as he sits alone in his apartment. And by stripping everything away, this film captures the magnitude of Eusebio’s metamorphosis.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for THE CLEANER.