10 minutes

How three Mexican window-washers of Chicago’s skyscrapers see the world

‘We’ll go wash windows in heaven so that heaven is clean.’

Dangling from the towering buildings that mark Chicago’s iconic skyline, three men wash windows for a living when they’re not on construction jobs. Sergio and Jaime Polanco from the Mexican state of Zacatecas and their US-born cousin Cruz Guzman take pride in the work, which literally offers windows on to the worlds of people with dramatically different wealth and lifestyles from their own. There are risks too, of course – Chicago’s winds are notoriously fierce, and a fall resulting from the failure of the ropes, suction cups or harnesses that the men use would likely mean death. In this short documentary, the Israeli-born and New York City-based director Nadav Kurtz draws on wide-ranging conversations with the men to create a warmhearted meditation on work, class and mortality. The film premiered in 2012 and played at numerous festivals, including Sundance, True/False, Tribeca and Melbourne International.

Director: Nadav Kurtz

Directors of Photography: Christopher Markos, Andrew Wehde, Jay Patton

Website: Dictionary Films

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