Man on the Roof

Short feature with no dialogue by young talent Mathijs Geijskes.
A melodrama about the impossibility to escape society.

Description» Credits »
Released at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, 1997.
International Critics Award (FIPRESCI-jury) of the International Short Film Festival, Cracow, Poland, 1997
Silver Medal, Short Film Festival of Brno, Czech Republic, 1997
Best Fiction Film, Méridiens Meetings of Young Directors, Aubagne, France, 1997


International Film Festival Rotterdam, 1997

48th Mostra Internationale, Montecatini, 1997.

Avanca, Portugal, 1997.

Antalya Film Festival, Turkey, 1997.

Molodist, International Film Festival of Kiev, 1997.

Hofer Filmtage, Germany 1997.

European FilmFest Aachen, 1997

Cleveland International Film Festival, USA, 1998

Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, USA, 1998

Sao Paolo International Filmfestival, Brasil, 1998

Willem attacks the tiger woman in Man on the Roof


Man on the roof is a short film with no dialogue. The story is told through images and the separately created soundtrack and music composed for the film.

Man on the roof is about a man who has escaped his absurdly busy job as a nurse and every day reality by raising himself high above the grey city.
On top of the roofs he lives in peace. He doesn't need to leave the roofs for food.
Each new day brings a fat cat for the spit. A short chase, a cut throat and the man hangs the collar of his catch as a trophy next to all other collars of unfortunate cats. Down in the street more and more posters describing missing cats appear. The man's hatred for cats also arises from his love for birds. He tenderly looks after a lame pigeon. His secluded life comes to an end the moment a young woman discovers the roof of her new house. She too seems to appreciate the roof where the sun unfailingly shines, as opposed to the grey and gloomy street. First the man sees her as a threat, but then becomes intrigued by his visitor. But he forgets she's belongs to the world he wanted to escape. A meeting between these two is destined to end in a clash......

According to filmmaker Mathijs Geijskes the idea to make a film with no dialogue is follows logically from the story. "The subject is very suitable for a silent film because the man lives in a self chosen isolation. He has no contact at all with the world down in the street, and the people down there have no contact with each other either.
They walk past or even over each other. Moreover I wanted to experiment, back to the basics of film. I also wanted to pay extra attention to the sound. It had to stand apart from the original recordings. It had to add an extra dimension to the images.
Too, it is essential for a good film to tell a story with images, sound and music, to evoke an emotion. It's not something you could also broadcast by radio or perform in a theatre"


Main cast :

Man: René van Zinniq Bergmann

Woman: Antoinette van Belle

Her Friend : Han Bosman

Written & Directed by: Mathijs Geijskes

Director of Photography: Nestor Sanz

Art Director: Ben Zuydwijk

Editor: Jan Dop

Music & Sound Design: Michel Mulders

For Netherlands Programme Service:

Script Consultans: Marina Blok, Tonny van Velzen

Producer: Marian Brouwer

Voor Moving Image Production:

Producent: Kaie Klaassen

Uitvoerend producent: Margie Monfils

Man on the Roof was produced by Moving Image Production and commissioned by the Netherlands Programme Service, financed by the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Promotion Fund, the Netherlands Programme Service and Moving Image Production BV, with an additional post-production loan from the Film Fund Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Film Festival Stimuleringsfonds Nederlandse Culturele Omroepproducties Nederlandse Programma Stichting

Original language / language versions: n.a.

Release date: February 1997

Duration: 25’40”

Formats: 35 mm / video / digital

copyright © Moving Image Production, 1997