Life on the Rooftop
2016 | Documentary | Taiwan | 54’10” | NTSC | Color | English Subtitles
Director: Liao Ching-yao
Taipei is a densely populated city. Sandwiched between the skyscrapers and luxurious apartment blocks, the huts with metal sheeting constructed on the rooftops of old buildings become a dwelling system of its own. These extensions built by the property owners have existed for a long time. They can be seen in the city centre and prime commercial sectors, becoming a unique sight in Taipei’s skyline. Often they are referred as the “killer of views” or “tumours of the city”.
However, who are the residents living in the rooftop extensions built with metal sheeting? How do they lead their lives? Those who are interviewed in the film have nothing to do with one another. They have only one thing in common – they all choose to live in the so-called “iron-skin rooftop huts”. The reasons behind their choice vary, and they are not necessarily lowly paid or underprivileged. Sometimes they move in for the great view on the rooftop or the unusual lifestyle. Like the illegal structure of these extensions, some hold the values that are not accepted by the mainstream.