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El Limpiador

// Presented as part of Filmatique's New South American Cinema Series //

Exclusive Essay: Death, Desolation, and Dystopia in El Limpiador (The Cleaner)

Spotlight on El Limpiador



Adrián Saba / Peru, 2012 / San Sebastián, Biarritz, Chicago, East End, Fribourg, Göteborg, Guadalajara, Havana, Karlovy Vary, Mar del Plata, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Seattle, Transylvania / 95'


Eusebio is a forensic cleaner living in Lima, Peru.  A strange epidemic has engulfed the capital— victims demonstrate cold-like symptoms which turn deadly in just 12 hours.  One day Eusebio encounters Joaquín, a young boy who has been orphaned by the epidemic.  Initially weary of each other's presence, Eusebio and Joaquín set forth together across the vast, desolate landscapes of a dystopian future.


Featuring minimalist genre flourishes alongside naturalistic performances, Peruvian filmmaker Adrian Saba's debut feature screened at over 100 film festivals, including a premiere at San Sebastián where it received a New Directors Award special mention; Palm Springs, where it won the New Visions/New Voices award; and Transylvania, where it won the FIPRESCI Critics' Award.  El Limpiador was Peru's official entry for the foreign-language film Oscar in 2014, but was not nominated.



"Writer/director Adrian Saba scores a marvelous debut, full of heart that takes advantage of its intelligent minimalism and expands on it via two memorable characters as he succeeds in telling a story with a truly original premise.  Saba is aware that the only infallible cure for heartache is selfless love.  Delightfully worthy of praise, The Cleaner is subtly comedic, profoundly affecting, and an endearing rare treat"

- Carlos Aguilar, Film ReviewIndiewire