19 October 2012

The Cleaner / El Limpiador (Adrian Saba, 2012, Peru)

When I was looking for trailers or reviews for this film during the long drawn out process of picking my dozens of festival screenings, all I could find for this movie was a description of it on its Kickstarter page. As such, I wasn't really surprised that the film plays sort of like a student process. Much of the audience found it enjoyable and even compelling, but I didn't really connect to it much. I found it sort of slow and tedious at times, but mostly I've never really been able to connect to stories like this film which are focused on a sort of father/son relationship. As someone who seems to have sprung forth almost exclusively from his mother's fevered subconscious, it's just not something I've ever had much contact with. The setup is interesting. The stuff about the plague is interesting. It's unexpected that the treatment of the plague is viewed so undramatically, but I didn't find that there was enough there there to sustain that approach, particularly since I didn't really get too involved in the story of their relationship. Which relationship, you must be wondering. Well, this movie is about a sort of plague that sweeps through Lima killing all the adults. Eusebio is a sort of sanitation worker who goes around cleaning up after dead bodies all day and he happens upon this boy hiding in the closet who has lost his mother to the plague. A classic loner, he takes care of the boy because there is no other option. The two grow to care for each other and honestly it's nice. I've overstated my misgivings with this film because the central element is not my cup of tea, but the truth is I liked the movie fine. I think part of me just felt like it had the potential to be better. I liked the lead actor and all I can say about the kid is, Any Day Now notwithstanding, kids in movies aren't generally my thing.

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