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The Rooftops

Set against sea and sky, the distant rooftops of Algiers are a picture of beauty and serenity, but a closer look reveals a world simmering with contradictions, chaos, and corruption. In a single day, five cleverly linked stories take place on these historic rooftops, which have been colonized by the city’s undesirables. Recalling Short Cuts from filmmaker Robert Altman, the stories are united by the five daily calls to prayer echoing over the city from loudspeakers. From squatters and lowlifes to bigoted film directors and radical singers, a tapestry of contemporary Algeria is woven together. On one rooftop, a man is waterboarded by thugs, but he is no terrorist. On another rooftop, a madman kept in chains raves to a young girl about the heroic War of Independence. Later he is simply covered when the space is needed for those seeking a new kind of war. [Synopsis courtesy of COLCOA]