My dear friend Jesse and I are making another film in a couple of months called The Clean Up. He does his best to explain it in his classic Jesse Allen manner in the video above. Or you can read this handy text copypasta below.
“The Clean Up” chronicles a single night in the life of two Mexican cleaning ladies, Paola and Alejandra, as they clean a tall Manhattan office building.
New to this country, city, and job, Alejandra is lead around by her jaded co-worker, Paola, as they make the rounds of each floor of the building. Paola’s disdain for the office workers, and their complete disregard for her, becomes immediately apparent to Alejandra. Paola’s mood, however, shifts when she runs into Mr. Samuelson, an amiable older businessman. The two seem to have developed a genuine friendship throughout the years.
As they finish their shift later that night, Alejandra notices that her necklace has gone missing. When retracing their steps through the building, however, the two discover the dead body of Mr. Samuelson by his desk. Judging from the content on his screen, the position of his pants, and the belt around his neck, Mr. Samuelson seems to have died via Autoerotic Asphyxiation.
Paola is horrified. The death of her friend, especially his cause of death, are (sic) too much for her. Shifting between denial and panic, she convinces Alejandra to help her stage elaborate fake deaths for Mr. Samuelson that might seem more dignified when he’s eventually found in the morning. As they drag around his dead body, each setup grows even more ridiculous and desperate. Finally, Paola gives up.
Seeing no other option, Alejandra suggests that the two stage Mr. Samuelson’s suicide by throwing his body off the roof of the building. Though not as “dignified” as Paola’s original intention, it’s better than the truth. Tasked with now writing a suicide note for Mr. Samuelson, Paola conjures up her resentment for the other workers in the building (expressed in the beginning of the film) and constructs a cathartic critique of how this building, city, and society function. While she’ll likely be ignored again the following day, she finally has a voice that will be heard. That voice, however, is through the proxy of a dead, white collar worker.
The Clean Up will be our fifth film collaboration, another in a much longer line of creative collaborations between me and Jesse since we’ve been twelve years old. That is a long time. It is nice to have a working relationship with someone you are friends with because it makes telling them their ideas are stupid a lot easier. And, in the end, I think the work truly benefits from having that sort of frank discourse with a creative partner.
And Jesse is just adorable. Who wouldn’t want to work with him?
So go ahead and donate to our Kickstarter. We have 20 days left and are over the 50% mark. I know that Jesse would really appreciate your help, however minor, and I would too. Give us your money and then look forward to seeing the film here, there, and everywhere else.