On the Roof

On the Roof

Available on iTunes
Somewhere on the roof of a block of an apartment building in Prague, two men are standing at the precipice with the possibility a falling. Song is a 20-year-old Vietnamese, who had been hoping for a brighter future in Europe. He is an illegal immigrant, previously working in an illegal marihuana greenhouse, now fleeing from the police, fighting back tears and contemplating suicide. The other man is Rypar, a 75-year-old retired teacher, whose intention was merely to smoke a cigarette in the open air. The question: “Do you smoke?”, that the elder asks his coughing companion as he contemplates the drop, has its own sarcastic charm in this particular context. Two individuals, two destinies, two variations of loneliness, two traps. The first might best be described as the “illegality trap”, the second as the “old age trap”. You may escape the first trap with your life, the second, in absolute terms, never. This constellation offers a momentous outset for this tragicomedy filled with Prague’s own blend of blackest humour and bizarre as much as humane tones. Spoiler alert: Neither of the men will jump, the meeting on the roof instead becomes the starting point of a wonderful friendship. Rypar, who at first strikes us as a stubborn and disillusioned grouch, puts Song up in his apartment, though his motives are not wholly unselfish. If Song left the apartment, he would risk imminent arrest by the police on the streets … The two get to know, possible even respect one another. Their coexistence will change both of them. At this stage we don’t want to give away the how in any detail, suffice is to say that Song begins to learn the local language: Rypar labels the household, from the cutlery to the vacuum cleaner and living room cabinet with yellow Post-its naming the objects in Czech vocabulary.
Starring Alois Švehlík, Duy Anh Tran
Director Jirí Mádl