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Rooftops (2020)- Short Film Review

Star Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Short Film Review by: Thomas Jay

A whistle stop reunion

Starring, co-written, produced, edited and directed by Bruce Clinton Bradbury, Rooftops is the story of Rachel (Tatiana Boris) touching down into her native Brooklyn on a break from what appears to be a successful tour of her music.

Initially this film seemed a little lacking to in substance but a repeat viewing most certainly bumped it up in my estimations. Opening with this montage of air travel, numerous American Landmarks and locations smartly symbolic of the jet-set lifestyle Rachel is living. As the title card fades and the super fan (Timothy J. Cox) meets his idol, this cold opening if you will is quite well put together, planting the seeds that Rachel is a star on the rise and is going from strength to strength. After her introduction, the short wastes no time whatsoever in letting the characters reunite and enjoy the night as it unfolds and Rachel and Margaret (Sloan Pirie) rekindle their past romance. In my opinion this is a credit to the direction of this title, it captures the feeling of a fast burning fuse, they don’t have the luxury of time to spend together with each other and for as much as they celebrate her career and success, Rachel’s lifestyle has left the friendship amongst the small group somewhat fractured, and there appears to be no immediate fix. A further point on the direction, Bradbury makes great use of a very limited set of locations, from a pint sized flat that is home for the night, the bay or indeed the rooftops, it allows the film to show the characters truly make the most of the very little time they have together and communicates the fact that Rachel is perhaps a little trapped and dwarfed by her career as you can infer from the immensely populated skyline that boxes in Rachel and Margaret as they have a heart to heart as night begins to fall.

Representation in film is and always will be a major issue and to be honest this is a landmark film and deserves a lot more attention than what it currently has. Save from the works of Sciamma, it is one the few positive depictions of a lesbian relationship I’ve seen on film in any form. The relationship is presented in a completely natural manner, there’s no fetishisation or self-congratulation it boils down to essentially, a slice of life and deserves credit for that, it’s true representation in any sense of the word and to me at least indicates some seriously high standards of screenwriting.

With everything in mind though, and as harsh as it seems there were a few minor flaws. Sound quality seemed to vary massively from character to character and it was extremely noticeable, particularly towards the closing of scenes and when transitions occurred but it wasn’t particularly detrimental as dialogue wasn’t impacted but it is something you can easily pick up on. The same can be said for the editing of the film as well, it felt a little jump and amateurish but much like the sound was only something you can really pick up on when inbetween transitions.

Flaws aside, this second shirt from Bradbury following The Most Misused Word Since Love (2019), is a pretty enjoyable and exceptionally well-crafted film, deserving of any and all praise it is now available for viewing on YouTube and worth your time!

Reviewed by: #TomJay

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