Merzek Allouache’s The Rooftops Marred by a Parallel Storyline Problem

The rooftopsAllouache, the much sought after Algerian film maker, through “The Rooftops” shows us the state of his nation (which can be universal), through various rooftops. The director juggles with almost five plots in the film, and has without doubt, done a good job out of it.

The film dwells on issues of human emotions, homeless people, terrorism, lawlessness, religion, superstitions and gender. One good thing that should be appreciated is the fact that all five were parallel stories that felt no need to be connected at all. Apart from the fact that everything happens on a rooftop.

The guy who gets killed by his own brother regarding some real-estate deal, the film crew that is killed because they witness the incident, the old woman who lives on the rooftop with her mentally unstable niece and son, the band members and the woman admirer the female vocalist has next door, the unstable old man, Uncle Labri, who keeps on lamenting about the evil man who went on to become a hero and the supposedly “spiritual” guy who rents out a tiny little room on top of the rooftop to perform “exorcism”. All these form the plot.

Allouache has, for his own rescue, an amazing screenplay in hand. But what creates the confusion comes with the title – The Rooftops! Yes, somehow for a normal viewer it might get super difficult to get a hold on when the scene changes from one plot to another because everything happens in the strikingly similar rooftops of different place.

This especially becomes a problem as the stories are running parallel and not one after the other. Despite the superb cast and the variety of emotions they bring in front of us in a short time, this is a huge drawback.

Also, the fact that certain plots were not allowed to develop fully stares back right at the viewer. Nevertheless, the film conveys a plethora of emotions ranging from greed, love, lust, hypocrisy, failures to hope and clarity.

The Rooftops may sometimes let you off the hook a bit while watching it, but it will not disappoint for sure.