‘Squatting is still a legal occupation’. According to Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 the occupation of empty property in the UK is not illegal. In London there are more than 13.000 people living in squats. In 6 eclectic stories “5 1/2 Roofs” gives us six visions of squatting in London and shares with us the freedom and conflicts brought by living such a transitional, insecure lifestyle. We start with a group of young professionals from Eastern Europe who move from empty house to empty house and when raided by the police, they fly away on holiday. ‘There’s always a negative view of squatters. Well look at us, we work nine to five’. We follow various other groups of people who live together in order to freely express their creativity. One man who on losing his community is able to see the value of sharing his space with others comments: ‘I’ve come back to my council flat but then I look out the door and I know I am surrounded by people who don’t want anything whatsoever to do with one another’. Elsewhere a woman despairs and feels trapped by other people’s lack of consideration and disgusting habits and dreams of moving away. While the Urban Nomads are seen to be in a social experiment they hope will help change the world, we meet a community trying to save a local business from being developed into expensive flats, which the locals would never be able to afford. “5 1/2 Roofs” does not want to impose an opinion on you; it opens doors, challenges preconceived views and with a poetic and sympathetic eye it invites you into a world most people never see.
This film is a part of DIAGONALE 2006 film selection on Doc Air. The festival DIAGONALE offers a representative selection of Austrian recent film production covering the wide scope of film and video works: feature film, documentary, short, animation, avant-garde and productions for television. www.diagonale.at
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.