|Man on Wire
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On aug 7 1974 a young frenchman names philippe petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between the world trade centers twon towers. After dancing for nearly an hour on the wire he was arrested. This documentary incorporates petits footage to show the numerous extraordinary challenges he faced. Studio: Magnolia Pict Hm Ent Release Date: 12/09/2008 Rating: Pg13
Native New Yorkers know to expect the unexpected, but who among them could've predicted that a man would stroll between the towers of the World Trade Center? French high-wire walker Philippe Petit did just that on August 7th, 1974. Petit's success may come as a foregone conclusion, but British filmmaker James Marsh's pulse-pounding documentary still plays more like a thriller than a non-fiction entry--in fact, it puts most thrillers to shame. Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip, The King) starts by looking at Petit's previous stunts. First, he took on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, then Sydney's Harbour Bridge before honing in on the not-yet-completed WTC. The planning took years, and the prescient Petit filmed his meetings with accomplices in France and America. Marsh smoothly integrates this material with stylized re-enactments and new interviews in which participants emerge from the shadows as if to reveal deep, dark secrets which, in a way, they do, since Petit's plan was illegal, "but not wicked or mean." The director documents every step they took to circumvent security, protocol, and physics as if re-creating a classic Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville caper. Though still photographs capture the feat rather than video, the resulting images will surely blow as many minds now as they did in the 1970s when splashed all over the media. Not only did Petit walk, he danced and even lay down on the cable strung between the skyscrapers. Based on his 2002 memoir, Man on Wire defines the adjective "awe-inspiring." --Kathleen C. Fennessy
A MUST-SEE FILM, simply an inspiring, amazing masterpiece. ALSO READ PHILIPPE'S WONDERFUL BOOK; his story transcends words and transports you to a place of rare passion, beauty and possibility. Soaring! I remember this story just after it appeared in the New York Times back in 1974 and filed it away in my mind, wondering when the whole story might be told by the man who did it. Thank you Philippe for sharing your story with us in your own time. I look forward to meeting you some day... Highest regards (no pun intended), Matthew Cross, [......]...more info
- Everything a documentary should be
James Marsh has created a documentary that pays homage to the early masters of the form and one that will stand on its own for generations to come.
It is the story of Phillipe Petit, a self-talk tightrope or wire walker, street performer, publicity hound and obsessive who captured the world's attention in 1976 when he, with the help of interesting band of confederates, walked a wire strung between the newly erected World Trade Center towers.
More than a thousand feet in the air, Petit walked the 200 feet or so between the towers on a quarter-inch thick wire eight times. On occasion he kneeled in salute. He lay down on the wire. He did this all with supreme ease, while onlookers gasped in surprise, shock, awe and fear.
James Marsh pulls together Petit himself, looking vastly older now than the cherubic youth who pulled off this stunt, his girlfriend of the time whom the years have not treated well and several other friends, acquaintances and confederates.
It is a marvelous story. Petit leaves no doubt that he is an obsessive - and watching his skills mature leaves one in awe of his incredibly singular talent. His girlfriend of so long ago lived in thrall to him, doing his ever bidding. She's quite the contrast - the young woman dressed in the style of the 60s and 70s compared to the much older woman of today, showing the ravages of age.
Petit's friends of long standing all attest to the combustibility of Petit and their own tempers.
The stories of the past are intertwined with the meticulous planning for the WTC escapade, which Marsh successfully imbues with the tension of a great bank heist film. The stories of creeping up to the top floor and then scurrying when a guard unexpectedly appears and leans on the tarp they are hiding under are wonderful.
Finally the great event. Footage from the day just leaves the viewer gasping. Mere mortals don't do things like this - walk on a thin wire more than a thousand feet above our heads, kneeling on the wire, laying on the wire.
A police officer, long forgotten to history, lives on in a news interview of the time, his hairstyle so 70s, so retro today, as he talks of the police reaction.
No one treated it as a great crime, though the police officers, angry about being taunted by Petit, did rough him up.
A judge "sentenced" Petit to a public performance for children. The WTC gave Petit a lifetime pass to the observation deck of the WTC.
Petit faded into semi-obscurity, teaching and performing in New York.
This film, however, assures that future generations will know and see the "man on wire", as the police complaint describes the event. Petit did something that no other human has done - and that no other human can ever do.
A marvelous film. A tribute to Petite, the "man on wire" and Marsh, a superb documentarian.
- Beneath the Thrill, a Lot of Sadness
I was lured into seeing this film by my teenage son, who is a circus acrobat by genetic conviction as surely as Philippe Petit was a high-wire walker and as I am a musician. I would never have entered the theater if I'd known what I'd be seeing. I have a pathologically empathetic response to films. When I was a little kid, I used to shout out warnings to Tweetie Bird when the cat got near. During fight scenes, my whole body twitches and my wife gets nervous for the safety of the unsuspecting head in front of me. I'm a climber in real life. I've been to the summit of Annapurna. But my blood pressure rises and I tremble with acrophobia at Hollywood simulations of climbing. This film Man on Wire took two years off my life, I'm sure. It's that intense, with its coy intersplicing of still photos and super-eight footage of Petit in mid-air and lovely slow talking-head interviews of Petit and his accomplices, years later, clearly establishing that they all survived to tell the tale.
Those interviews of middle-aged daredevils, reminiscing about their greatest caper, were as intense for me as the dodgy accomplishment of the adventure. It was literally the end of a love affair with life for all of them, something "too hot not to cool down," an overture too overwhelming to be followed by a mere opera. When Petit's boyhood friend broke down in tears at the waning of their friendship, when Petit's wife-the-love-of-his-life felt the reality that his life no longer needed hers, the whole social cost of Petit's obsession moved me also almost to tears. Hey, I might have cried if my heart had slowed down to twice normal. I felt an urge to grab my son and hug or shake him, saying "don't let your art be more to you than your life."
There's more to this film than a mere victimless heist thriller....more info
- An exhilarating film about life on the edge - beautiful, inventive, amusing, suspenseful
When the charismatic and daring Frenchman Philipe Petit saw a drawing of the projected twin towers of the World Trade Center, he immediately knew. Even though they had yet to be built, he knew that someday he would have to cross them. This intense and exhilirating documentary aims to show us how and why. The how is easier to tell. Its effort to explore the why is what makes this documentary much more than merely exciting. We all need a reason to live, a passion to drive us. The greatest passions are those that push the limits of the conceivable.
In one of the opening scenes of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the would-be teacher arrives in a crowded marketplace to preach the possibility of the "overman," the inventor of new values who would elevate humanity towards higher pursuits than merely pleasure and pain and the avoidance of death. The crowd misunderstands him, thinking he refers to the tightrope artist who was to appear above them.
Watching this remarkable documentary, about Philipe Petit's criminal act of performance art, it would be hard not to see that he is no ordinary man. It would be difficult not to see in his story possibilities for a life unconstrained by the merely pragmatic concerns of day-to-day living, that reaches out beyond the possible and accepts risk in order to achieve something truly remarkable.
Of course, as the film makes clear, Mr. Petit is by no means an "overman" -- he is remarkable and talented and charismatic but at the same time deeply flawed, notably in his seeming inability to see the immensity of the sacrifices that his friends (and lover) make for the sake of his visions. While his crossing of the twin towers was astonishing and beautiful, it stunned me that just afterwards he could forget his friends (and lover) to pursue an amorous encounter with an admirer. The film does not shy away from presenting his flaws, and perhaps the greatest strength of the film is to show how much his accomplishments depended on the skills and efforts of many collaborators. It was a team project, and while the film strongly suggests that their friendships had become damaged or broken in the aftermath, it does give a strong voice to the perspectives of the many participants.
The film is edited brilliantly, combining actual footage and newsreel with interviews and re-enactments. The filmmakers tell the story as if it were a heist film, meticulously portraying the complex preparations that were required, with the crossing as the final prize, and gradually lay in back story to add emotional depth and significance to the final event. I found it to be at least as intense and entertaining as any fictional heist film I've ever seen -- and I've seen quite a few. The pacing of the film is just right.
The music is perfect -- combining classical pieces with original compositions. It was only on second viewing that I realized I'd heard some of the most intriguing music before, in the work of another brilliant British auteur, Peter Greenaway (The Draughtsman's Contract, and Drowning by Numbers). The film won top prizes at Sundance, where I had the chance to see it for the first time, taking both the Grand Jury prize and the Audience Choice award in the World Documentary category. They were well deserved. The film is both astonishing, complex and enormously entertaining -- and nicely gives a beautiful crime to remember in connection with the World Trade Center, as a counterpoint to the more recent atrocities. This film is definitely not one to be missed.
This outstanding documentary plays like a top-notch work of fiction. It's exciting, of course, but it's also hilarious at times -- with a cast of compelling, oddball characters right out of a Monty Python skit. Highly (pun intended) recommended! ...more info
- the importance of acting now to fulfill our dreams
Man On Wire documents Philippe Petit's quest to become a tightrope walker beyond comparison. The cinematography is very well done. In addition, we get lots of quality archival color footage and we also get very recent interviews with people who helped Philippe even when they didn't always see eye to eye with him. His girlfriend at the time, who provided Philippe with so much moral support, is also interviewed.
Although we don't get much in the way of background about Philippe Petit; we are told he was brought up in a strict household and he's essentially a rebel, going around the streets of Paris juggling balls and doing magic tricks on a unicycle. Philippe is obviously a brave man and he was very strong physically and emotionally as he prepared for the challenge of walking the tightrope between The World Trade Center buildings. Philippe also recruited a crew of friends, including his then-girlfriend; and together they all embarked on their mission to help Philippe prepare for his big goal of walking on a tightrope between what was then called "The Twin Towers."
We see footage of Philippe walking in a field on a tightrope and he learns how to do it very well rather quickly--good for him! He eventually became so good at this that he could even do it with his eyes closed. Incredible. He then scaled the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; and he also walked a tightrope on top of a bridge in the harbor of Sydney, Australia much to the chagrin of the police. It's interesting to note, however, that Philippe gave the police a run for their money without ever committing a serious crime.
And then came the preparations for the grand achievement--walking a tightrope between "The Twin Towers." Philippe and his friends prepared meticulously back in France by making small scale models of the tops of the two buildings and making numerous drawings of the scenario in order to study it from every possible angle. They didn't leave a thing to chance especially because Philippe's desire to walk that tightrope was so risky in and of itself. They even swayed the tightrope while Philippe practiced so that he could get used to walking on a swaying tightrope when the two buildings if any wind was blowing on the day he was going to do walk that tightrope.
One extremely interesting part of the adventure was actually conning their way into the Twin Towers to take pictures from which they could study--and prepare the tightrope the night before so that Philippe can walk early one morning in August of 1974. We see how they got in to study the buildings and how they eventually entered for the big event. I'll let you watch the film to see how they managed all this--on several occasions, too!
What happens to Philippe after he starts to cross the tightrope and the police show up? Will he get off the rope right away? Will his accomplishment change his relationships with his friends and his girlfriend? Does he ever do this or anything like it again? Watch the movie and find out!
The DVD comes with a few extras. There is a retelling of this true story for children entitled The Man Who Walked Between The Towers; and there is another interview with Philippe Petit as well. We even get a featurette about Philippe's experiences in Sydney back in 1973.
Man On Wire tells the fascinating tale of a once in a lifetime event--that of a brave man walking a tightrope between "The Twin Towers." However, on a broader scale this film is really about the importance of acting now to fulfill our dreams and achieve our goals. Only then can we savor life. The interviews we get are pretty incredible. I highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys documentaries or films about the importance of living life to the fullest.
- Interesting documentary about daredevil act
This documentary recounts how French high wire walker Philippe Petit and a small band of accomplices managed to string a cable across the roofs of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 so he could walk, dance, kneel, run and lie down in mid-air for an unforgettable 45 minutes.
The movie never mentions the 2001 attack that destroyed the towers but that is always in your mind and gives the movie some additional poignancy.
We meet Petit, who is articulate and almost laughably French. He had already walked on a wire between the two spires of Notre Dame in Paris and on a bridge in Sydney. He was apparently obsessed by the idea of walking between the twin towers from the moment construction on them began.
Why is the event interesting enough to deserve to be remembered? Like all theater, it was fleeting and transitory, yet it created an image of beauty that those who witnessed it never forgot.
From the grim aftermath, we know that the towers themselves were transitory. Like twin Towers of Babel, they aspired to touch the sky and yet they were so easily destroyed by those evil men.
And I guess it teaches us that everything we create and build and achieve, no matter how grandiose and significant it may seem, is transitory in this world of ours.
According to the movie, the event changed Petit in some fundamental way. For a short time, he became a star. He broke up with his girlfriend and his relationships with his loyal helpers also ruptured. I wish the movie had delved more into the aftermath. One extra included on the Dvd is an animated version of the story intended for children. It's almost more moving and resonant that the movie itself.
In the end we're left with the unforgettable image of a man walking, so it appears, on thin air, suspended in space a quarter of a mile in the sky....more info
- Man on Wire, Me on Tacs
When I initially purchased this CD (2), I felt a little silly. What? No car crashes? No murders? No sexually explicit scenes? It was soooo good. THEN it received an Academy Award! WELL . . . it was even better! How to Wire-Walk Between the World Trade Center Towers for Dummys. Mary M....more info
- Very fun, engaging, beautiful
I saw it in theaters because it was 100% on rotten tomatoes. People don't lie! It's very refreshing, and kind of random, but Philippe Petit is a random kind of guy. It's a documentary, but watches more like a heist. The music, the homevideos and reinactments, everything, is very well done. Definitely a story to delight many and make you wonder in awe about what kind of people are out there. ...more info
- Awesome documentary!
I know I'm not alone when I say that I can not begin to imagine the courage, soul, seeming fearlessness(although he does admit to being fearful and acknowledges how potentially close death was), bravery, daring, etc. etc. of a man like Philippe Petit. The relative ease with which he deals with heights, I'm sure, will make many viewers cringe a few times during the film. I have never written a review before, but if you are a fan of the extraordinary, this film is for you. It is an inspiring glimpse into what greatness human beings are capable of when we dream, are blessed with a singular determination and daring and when we take care of ourselves(body and mind). Can you imagine after everything Mr. Petit had to do to set the stage for his dance on the wire that he was physically and mentally at ease enough to accomplish the actual act. No twitches or spasms or mental demons that tortured him into a mistake at a time when a mistake might be lethal. Mr. Petit is not a man as I am a man. He is a Superman! In a crazy world where most are dedicating huge portions of their lives to a suspect preperation for some far-fetched after-life... Philippe Petit has surly found his own answers from among his several opportunities to sit amongst the clouds on his wire....more info
- you cant "4-star" a feat like this...
Great part about this film there is authentic home film of the wire walker and crew in the 70's training and playing, really added to the experience, nice treat. The film itself is about the only man to tight rope walk (or dance as a witnessing police man said in a live interview after the act). What Philip Petit did was a awe and life aspiring feat. This should be watched by basically everyone...what made this film extra special for me is that I watched (by happenstance) maybe 2 days after seeing another documentary concerning the world trade towers. It was called "falling man", which was about the attempts of a journalist trying to uncover the identity of a man who was one of the many who choose to leap to their death than be consumed by flames following the jet attacks on the towers (the unidentified falling man was put on the front page to the shock of many viewers, that picture only ran once, remember?)...the movie is actually about more than that but that is beyond the scope of this review.
After watching "Man on Wire" was a life affirming movie. We should all live so passionately....what else are we to do with this small amount of time given on this earth?
- Miracles do happen
A delightful, quixotic documentary about a dreamer who wanted to walk on a tightrope between the World Trade Towers and had enough skill to actually bring off the unlikely feat.
Along with his tightrope talent Philippe Petit had resourcefulness and considerable engineering ability. He smuggled more than a ton of equipment into the Towers under the noses of the guards, and rigged the wire by sending an arrow from one tower to the other and embroidering the wire from the fishline. His plan for the guywires was complex, and had to be, given the possibilities of wind and other problems at the top of the buildings.
During the planning stages the filmmakers use the lovers' theme from Michael Nyman's music for "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover". When Philippe is actually on the wire between the towers, they switch to Satie's "Gymnop¨¦die". Then, as the camera pans from Philippe to the New York cops, the hectic march from "The Cook The Thief" takes over.
The sense of exultation and awe is contagious as Philippe's girlfriend tells the passersby that there is a man on a tightrope between the towers. Philippe's friends can't talk about the miraculous ascension without weeping. There is, indeed, something magical about the enormity of his dream and his accomplishment. I had a lump in my throat at the critical moment.
Predictably, the authorities and the media asked him "Why?" He found the question incomprehensible and irrelevant. A commitment like his doesn't have or need a "Why."
The entire project, from dream to planning to execution to arrest, could be regarded as a work of modern art, performance art, carried out with technological means but -- most of all -- a romantic end.
A great movie for dreamers and those who respect dreamers. Even one of the cops says, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing."...more info
- Man on a Wire
Excellent, daring, insanity driven person. I compare him to the man
who lived amongst the Grizzly Bears, who ultimately killed him. Man on
a Wire had me on the edge of my seat with his daring feats. Amazing, but
absolutely insane. Loved his charismatic personality that drew others
into his dream to tightrope across the Twin Towers in N.Y. They loved
him even after his fame caused him to abandon them in the end....more info
- Batman On Wire
While police sirens whine far below, this man looks from a towering skyscraper down at Gotham as he prepares to step into the abyss. He knows that what he will do is not legal, but thinks that it will benefit others. Even more, he is drawn -- by his very nature -- to act.
If you think I'm writing about Batman in The Dark Knight, well, I'm not (at least not just yet). I'm writing about Man on Wire, a documentary about tight rope walker and proto performance artist Philippe Petit, who wire walked between the tops of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in August of 1974.
Director James Marsh uses a combination of vintage footage, contemporary interviews and dramatic recreations to tell the story of how Petit dreamed up his mad scheme, recruited his motley band of helpers and circumvented security to bring his dangerous plan to fruition. In some ways, the film works as a caper or heist film wherein in a team is gathered to steal the jewels or break out of prison.
There is no mystery about whether he will be successful. After all, Petit is interviewed in the present day (so we know he lives), and no one would make a film about someone who wasn't able to pull off an elaborate stunt over thirty years ago. The fun is watching how it was done. But it can be a bit unsettling to watch as blueprints for the World Trade Centers are laid out to plot a stunt, when we know that in the years after 1974 the blueprints for the buildings will be studied for much more malignant reasons.
But as a Christian, I find it odd to be put in a place of rooting for someone who's breaking the law. In Romans 13: 1 & 2 the apostle Paul wrote "1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."
Petit's comrades argue that since he has no ill intent, it doesn't matter if he breaks the law. In the film we are shown some of Petite's stunts prior to the WTC, tightrope walking between the towers of the Norte Dame Cathedral and the towers of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. After being arrested in Sydney, Petit swipes the watch of one of the policemen who arrests him.
I think when we're young we all have an impulse to break or at least bend the law. (I know as a kid and a teen, I might not have always strictly followed laws scrupulously concerning trespassing when with a friend off-roading or toilet papering houses or...the traffic laws or... how much of this do I want my kids to read?) And part of the fun of watching movies is seeing characters do what we would never do. But this is a real person committing a real crime that could have not only cost him his own life, but the lives of onlookers and the police called to bring him in.
And yet watching a man walk back and forth between those massive structures is captivating and at times quite beautiful. Can we become too obsessed with following legalities?
Jesus certainly was not always a stickler for the law. The Pharisaic law said that one should not do any work on the Sabbath, including healing. But we have this story about Jesus from Matthew 12 - "9Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
11He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." 13Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other."
But there is a difference. When Jesus broke the law, it was always clearly for the glory of God, the benefit of others and the furtherance of the Kingdom. It wasn't just on a lark or for self glorification.
So back to Batman. Yes, I did see some similarities between these films. One of the most fascinating things in The Dark Knight (directed by Chris Nolan) is Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) wrestling with the outlaw nature of his work as a vigilante. He sees his work as necessary to protect the lives of others, but he would rather be able to live within the law. But he finds he can't.
In The Dark Knight, Wayne uses all the tools at his disposal to fight a war against crime and terrorism (as personified by the Mob and the Joker played by the late Heath Ledger). But he comes to realize there will be a cost to such a battle not just for himself, but for those who join him in the battle. And he agonizes over the potential costs in the lives of others. (Petit in Man on Wire rarely seems concerned by the costs paid by those who join him in his quest.)
These moral quandaries, never fully answered, are what make The Dark Knight a little more thoughtful that the average summer superhero epic. And it was odd to find that the fictional blockbuster was more serious on a moral level than the documentary from the BBC and Discovery Films.
I loved this documentary. The viewer is caught up in the dedication of this young man who decided he HAD TO do this amazing thing. He is unbelievably talented and so strong in his belief that the twin towers were put up for him to make this walk. It's takes a little time to get used to the back and forth between present days and planning days, but the end result is just wonderful. Great accomplishment and it will NEVER happen again! ...more info
- "Man on Wire" will leave you breathless
"Man on Wire" is a documentary about Philippe Petit's dream to tightrope walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in NY. What easily could have been a average 30 minute film is instead a riveting documentary that deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Having a fear of heights, there were pictures and video of Petit's exploits that were absolutely harrowing. The story of how Petit and his helpers were able to get all their equipment in place and their ingenuity in stringing a steel wire between the two towers is unbelievable. The historical footage of the WTC and surrounding area along with Petit's walk are worth watching. However, when you put that together with the story of how they could accomplish this feat -- all the little things that had to and did go right -- and the interviews with key players, you have a brilliant picture.
The only thing about the movie that left a bad taste in my mouth was Philippe Petit. He's a pompous, arrogant person and it is a good thing his exploits are so interesting because he is not a very endearing person....more info
- Excellent Documentary
"Man on Wire" touches the mind and the heart. It's amazing.
However, I have one problem with the film -- a "fault" which I imagine may have been caused by its (probably minimal) stock-footage-licensing budget. The film could have used more historical context regarding the general state of decay and implosion in which the city of New York and the USA found itself during the Nixon Resignation, the bankruptcy of New York City, and the late-1960s/early-1970s critique of the Twin Towers as bastions of over-the-top capitalism (which they would remain until 2001.) Both NYC and the USA were hurting in 1974. But Petit's (a Frenchman's) unexpected, (and, thankfully, successful) highwire performance did a service to the Twin Towers by promoting and humanizing them, and to New York City and to the USA by re-emphasizing the the spirit of risk, initiative, and freedom that animated the Towers and that animates the United States. ...more info
Little wonder that "MAN ON WIRE" was judged Best Documentary by the Academy Awards. From beginning to end it is utterly amazing -- because it is a true story. It shows all that was involved for Phillipe Petit and his friends in stringing a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center and then for Phillipe to walk on the wire from one Tower to the other.
It is impossible to believe that such a feat will ever be surpassed. And this film accurately and comprehensively reports the whole story of how it came about.
It is difficult to imagine how anyone could watch this and be disappointed. Phillipe is a bigger than life character who takes it all with a grain of salt -- in the midst of utter and total dedication.
It is a joy to recommend this highly.
Bob Balkam...more info
- Man on a high
This is a superb documentary about Philip Petit's wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in 1974. The documentary is clevely constructed and makes the film as exciting as many thrillers.
Contemparary interviews with the particpants adds enormously to the film, and the emotion that some of them still feel to this day is quite surprising and moving. The idea for the walk first formed in Petit's mind when he saw a newspaper article about the towers before they were built. Years passed before planning could start but eventually the detail fell into place.
There is a lot of original footage in the documentary, as well as reconstructions and material from his earlier walks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and others.
- It came highly recommended . . .
I remember this movie being at the theater, but I seldom see movies that way any more. I just wait a few weeks for the DVD. Anyway, a few months ago, I heard a movie reviewer saying that one of his favorite films of '08 was the documentary Man on Wire. Well, I had to see it, and I was not disappointed. I am buying Petit's book, as well. The entire feat, start to finish, just blows my mind, especially the dedication and participation of these other people in his life. They, too, walked on the wire....more info
- Insights Into A Performer's Passion
This documentary shows Philippe Petit's life-long commentment as an artiistic performer, not as an entertainer. He clarifies his commitment is to art and does not intend to frighten an audience. His famous walk was highly dependent on the commitment and efforts of friends and their efforts are an integral part of the story. I found myself admiring him without any desire to be like him. He reveals a side of human nature one rarely touches. The extra features are also well worth watching. I'm glad I bought it, rather than waiting for the movie to show up in our city. A strong theme throughout the story is our fascination with breaking the law (convention) while doing nothing to harm anyone; I think this speaks to a deep longing within us, especially men.
- The power of human determination and discipline
This documentary film is not just about a crazy man walking on a wire high up in the sky. It is a valuable lesson about what an intelligent, courageous, disciplined hard and smart work with a purpose can achieve. This is the answer to the criticism that walking on a high wire has no benefit to the welfare of society. The benefit to society is to teach a lesson about the potential capability of the human being in a society where too many people think they are inadequate and live life without setting any goals. This is the same lesson given by the achievements of climbers of the Everest summit.
In the film you can see how Phillipe Petit dreamed, planned and achieved his goal to walk between the twin towers in New York in 1974, that were subsequently brought down on September 11th 2001 by terrorist plane crashes. He set this goal even before the twin towers' construction began. He walked on the wire on lower heights for many years such as on the Sydney Harbor Bridge and many other places in the world for many years before eventually walking on the wire between the twin towers of New York. He had a supporting team of friends who tried to talk him out of the twin towers project fearing that he would fall. Despite this he kept his persistence. In the film we see that the team put up the wire between the twin towers after midnight so that they would not get caught. Even setting up that wire was very difficult. When dawn broke they had slept very little, even the walker Phillipe Petit. His friends were anxious that without a good night sleep and rest he would be too exhausted to keep his balance on the wire and made a last attempt to persuade him to give up the idea. He did not change his mind. It is remarkable that he spent 45 minutes on the wire, going back and forth between the towers 8 times as the crowd below and the police that came onto the towers to arrest him watched him. He didn't just walk ; he lyed on the wire like on a bed, balanced on his knee etc. When he came off the wire he was arrested and taken to psychiatric examination for insanity. He was found to be perfectly sane and charges against him of trespassing etc. were dismissed.
The only downside to the film is that a few of the scenes have low picture quality and some of the interviews made by the walker and members of the team are sometimes a little boring. However, some viewers of the film may not find the interviews boring.
I am so glad with my purchase. It was a birthday gift for my dad who is a HUGE fan of the movie. Item arrived super quickly & in fantastic condition. Thank you!!!...more info
- "When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk."
"I observed the tightrope 'dancer'--because you couldn't call him a 'walker'--approximately halfway between the two towers. And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire . . . And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle . . . He was bouncing up and down. His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again . . . Unbelievable really . . . everybody was spellbound in the watching of it."-- NYC Police Sergeant, Charles Daniels.
Directed by James Marsh (known for his cult film, Wisconsin Death Trip), Man on Wire is an inspirational documentary about Philippe Petit's daring high-wire walk between the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York. It has since been called "the artistic crime of the century." Petit, who was 24 years old at the time, is a French high-wire artist (a "funambule") and Paris street juggler who made history by walking (illegally) between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974 without a net. In the course of his half-hour walk, Petit sat on the wire, gave a knee salute and, while lying on the wire, spoke with a gull circling his head. (While the Twin Tower walk now defines him, Petit has also made tightrope walks using the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Louisiana Superdome, the Hennepin County Government Center, and the Eiffel Tower. He also juggles for children in Central Park.) Why did he do it? "L'art pour l'art," Petit explains, art for art's sake. Marsh describes his film as a heist movie (a "rififi") about Petit's "incredibly beautiful" "coup." The breathtaking film features a soundtrack drawn from the Michael Nyman album, Nyman/Greenaway Revisited, which seems as though it were written for the film. Marsh's film will appeal to the children, clowns, magicians, athletes, and dancers in all of us.
11/05/08 Update: Man on Wire received a Spirit Award nod this week for Best Documentary.
G. Merritt ...more info
- An Incredible Artist at Work!
I loved this movie, and it is a Keeper for me. It is better than I thought that it would be. This man is truly an artist. He has unbelievable balance control and better yet he knows how to stay focused passionately. Just think how much Focus and Confidence you have to have to pursue something like this. Could you do it? I also found the movie extremely interesting showing all of the planning that had to take place to make the event happen. The movie is not really about a Man on a Wire. It is about planning, dreams, passion, goals, developing skills, layout etc... I agree that there were scenes that were staged or reenacted, because they had to be. The actual events are real, and they grabbed me. My only disappointment was that he was arrested for being an artist and not bothering anyone. I can watch this movie again and again. It is Unbelievable and Real....more info