SXSW Film Reviews

Roof to Roof

D: Ara Corbett; with Amy Aivazian, Zaven Movsesian, Vanik Avanessian, Armineh Keshishian.

Ambition exceeds accomplishment in this fascinating but inarticulate narrative about the Armenian-American immigrant experience in contemporary Los Angeles. Told from the perspective of a father and his seven-year-old daughter, Roof to Roof conveys a sense of the outsider's alienated life in the shadows. However, the film is so murky and muddled in its visual and narrative style that it is difficult to say that the look is the result of formal concerns. It seems more likely that the problems in Roof to Roof are the result of filmmaking inexperience. Occasionally we get a glimpse of extended family members and an overall portrait of their lives in the noisy congestion that is modern L.A. More often, Roof to Roof leaves us confused by its edits, unclear about the possible meanings contained in its muddy black-and-white images, and basically uncertain about what is going on. Filmmaker Ara Corbett (who wrote, directed, shot, and edited this film) has latched on to an intriguing subject. His inadequate skills, however, render his subject matter moot.

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