|Man On Wire
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- Moving documentary of an amazing event
I'm still trying to digest the enormity of this amazing fete! Watching Petit from the ground, he looks little more than a speck. It's almost hard to believe that this actually happened.
This film gives us a lot---first the sheer spectacle of the event. That would be enough reason to watch it. But it does a lot more. I loved the early films of the young Petit and his friends romping in the green grass of the south of France as they prepared for the performance. The spirit of innocence and joy as they plan to do the impossible is really nice to see.
Then there is the inspiration that many may draw from the film--that nothing is impossible if you believe in your dream and are willing to work very hard to bring it into reality. The film does not stint on showing the exhausting preparative work that went into making this happen.
There's a real transcendent aspect to this, too. Petit says that death is very near when he's doing this. He says that if he should die on this attempt that it would be beautiful to go while doing what one is passionate about. He talks a lot about living on the edge, each day..and there is a lot of inspiration one can draw from that. The one moment that struck me the most in the whole film was after he overcame his initial fear on the crossing and a smile broke out on his face. As his companions said, they knew that he was home free then....he was in the zone...and his incredible antics on the wire at that time are truly mind boggling.
Then, there is the mystery aspect---the fact that the deal is illegal gives the story a bigger emotional charge than it would have anyway. It's really fun to see the figures huddled beneath the tarp while the guard smokes his cigarette a few feet away. A lot of folks will cheer the fact that these kids were able to pull it off.
Then there is the dimension of the relationships of his "team members" to Petit. He is obviously a charismatic guy whose passion for his dream enlisted blind faith in his friends. What is touching and also sad is the way the friendships, including that of his long time lover, ended after his great triumph. The film doesn't neglect this aspect of the story, although he doesn't hit us over the head with it either. As another reviewer said, it's important to see what such one-pointed ambition can cost in terms of one's overall humanity.
All in all, it's a very satisfying picture of one man's amazing experience---really worth watching.
One has to wonder how Petit reacted at the events of 9-11! Given his nature, he would have had to taken it very personally....more info
- Beautiful story - ravishing, touching, amazing
In an era of brilliant documentaries, this one rises to the surface. Cream of the crop. Miraculously, M. Petit had decided to film his progress and practice as a young man, so we see not only photos and current interviews, but lengthy sections of original footage. It was absolutely captivating to see not only the high wire shots, but to see Paris and New York in the 1970s. As a 40-something who first came to know Paris and New York in this era, it was beyond satisfying to see honest footage of the places I love. The clothes, the hair, the people, the freedom, the attitude -- it left me so homesick for a time gone by. The interviews are intelligent, sensitive, and utterly heartbreaking. If you dare to watch this, be prepared to be pulled in, and to have this film -- and this man -- on your mind for many days afterward....more info
- No Doubt
I usually hesitate before hitting that 5 Star choice. Not this time. On every level Man on Wire is a superb -- partly, and understandably, recreated -- documentary. In its stomach-churning tension of man alone in high places it reminded me of the otherwise very different Touching the Void from a few years back. Even more than the scary -- to us normal acrophobes -- wire work, Man on Wire is memorable for its humanity, for the innocence of the whole crazy idea, for the enthusiasm and excitement that Petit conveys even thirty years after the event, for the camraderie and support that enabled the act, and perhaps most of all for the loss of that once the deed was over. One of Petit's collaborators is overcome on camera recalling it all. Most watchers will be as well. Do not miss it. ...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
- 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
- Should be viewed as a supplement, not a video equivalent of the book "Up In The Clouds."
The phrase "the book was better" has been utilized by bookworms to annoy movie buffs for years, and in the case of Man on Wire, there is no better line than to balance one's judgment upon.
Petit's large book "Up In The Clouds" (not Man on Wire) was a testament to the artistic pursuit. The expansive duration of his "project" spanning almost half a dozen years, read like a rollercoaster ride, soaring in inspiration at one moment, plunging into depression, but steadily gaining momentum. When he and his accomplice Jean Francois had to sit motionless under a tarp for hours to evade security guards on the night before his faithful walk, the excruciating event was expertly documented in the book. In Man on a Wire, director Jame Marsh intercuts the long hours with flashbacks and interviews, almost exempting the viewer from the taut suspense that creates the tension in Petit's high wire story.
You will miss, for example, Petit's rebellious, anti-authoritarian childhood in France, the proposal from Dustin Hoffman in NYC, Petit's incessant arguments with Jean Louis, the people who pull out of the project and disappointed Philippe (but whom he, nevertheless, thanked), betrayals from people the moment the walk was completed, a quick victory hop in the sack with an anonymous fan, Petit's refusal to endorse advertisements and commercials in the wake of his success, but also his generosity in offering to walk again if a tower (or towers) should be erected in the place of WTC. You will also miss the beautiful 1902 story of the collapse of the San Marco tower, which Petit shares in the afterword as solace for the events of 9/11.
What the movie does offer is COLOR. To Reach the Clouds is in a black and white format, meaning all photographs are in B/W. Man of Wire offers color versions of some of those photographs and whimsical footage of early days leading up to the walk. Silent-film style clips of tall-hatted Petit moving through the streets in his unicycle is also a humorous treat.
The delightful Jean Francois, always ready to come to his aid (as oppose to Jean Louise, always criticizing Petit like a mother hen) gets interviewed in present day as well. His lovely manner is surely a testament to how good-natured people age gracefully.
If you are not a reader, then I gently suggest you begin this DVD by watching the extra "interview with Phillipe Petit." In the 12 minute monologue from the man himself, you will get a taste of Petit's artistry and a sense of what his book 'Up In the Clouds' is about. In addition, it could also be taken as a "footnote/warning" to the documentary itself. Petit says:
"The film is not my film...I have my own film in my head...very precise...my film is very different than the film that James did. James decided it is his vision, taken from my book 'To Reach The Clouds' He decided to give a lot of importance to the human feelings and the human drama, to the point that I think he manipulated a little bit - some of those interviews to make it more dramatic. As you see there are many tears and many question marks of people seemingly torn by what they would like to express but are not able to or whatever. This I have no comment, as this is not part of my adventure. My adventure is a fairy tale of a young man falling in love with two towers."
In the extras, there is also a 10 minute illustrated (color drawing) educational documentary for children and a film short documenting his earlier walk across the support pillars of the Sydney bridge.
The director should also be complimented on leaving footage and mention of 9/11 out of his film in order to capture and retain this good memory we possess of the Twin Towers.
- Extreme Zen
On the surface, Man on Wire may appear to be a straightforward documentary about an eccentric high wire artist who is either incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid. But if you look closer, you might discover one of the best suspense thrillers/heist movies of 2008, although no guns are drawn and nothing gets stolen. It is also one of the most romantic films I've seen this year, although it is not a traditional love story. Existential and even a tad surreal at times, it is ultimately a deeply profound treatise on following your bliss.
Late in the summer of 1974, a diminutive Frenchman named Philippe Petit made a splash (of the figurative kind, luckily) by treating unsuspecting NYC morning commuters to the sight of a lifetime: a man taking a casual morning stroll across a ?" steel cable, stretched from rooftop to rooftop between the two towers of the then-unfinished World Trade Center, 1350 feet skyward. After traversing the 200 foot wide chasm with supernatural ease, he decided to turn around and have another go. And another. And another. All told, Petit made 8 round trips, with only one brief but memorable rest stop. He took a breather to lie on his back (mid-wire) and enjoy what had to have been the ultimate Moment of Zen ever experienced in the history of humankind, contemplating the sky and enjoying a little chit-chat with a seagull.
Now, a stunt like this doesn't just happen on a whim. There are a few logistical hurdles to consider beforehand. Like how do you transport 450 lbs of steel cable to the roof of one tower of the World Trade Center, and then safely tether it across to its twin? A clandestine operation of this magnitude requires meticulous planning, and at least a couple trustworthy co-conspirators. Sounds like the makings of a classic heist film, no?
All of this potential for a cracking good true-life tale was not lost on director James Marsh, who enlisted the still spry and charmingly elfin Petit, along with a few members of his "crew" to give a first-hand account of events leading up to what can perhaps best be described as a "performance art heist". Marsh also deserves kudos for his excellent choice of music; the accompaniment of Peter Green's sublime, haunting guitar instrumental "Albatross" to one of Petit's more balletic high wire walks is an unexpected treat, making for a truly transcendent cinematic moment.
Of course, the foremost question on anyone's mind would be "Why did he do it?" At the time, he enigmatically offered "When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk." Petit himself remains a bit elusive on the motivations for his stunts. The director doesn't really push the issue, which I think is a wise choice. When you watch the mesmerizing footage of Petit floating on the air between the towers of Notre Dame, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then ultimately the World Trade Center, you realize that it is simply an act of pure aesthetic grace, like a beautiful painting or an inspired melody. And you also suspect that he does it...because he can. That's impressive enough for me, because I can barely balance a checkbook, and when it comes to heights, I get a nosebleed from thick socks....more info
- Best documentary of the year
Let me state upfront that I am a sucker for great non-fiction documentaries. I've always believed that life is stranger than fiction. And this is just the last (and perhaps best) example of it.
"Man on Wire" (98 min.) tells the improbable story of Phillipe Petit's dream (and eventual reality) of walking on a high wire between the two WTC buildings on August 7, 1974. The movie starts with his humble beginngins of being a street artist, eventually leading to his wanting to do high wire walks, starting with the Paris Notre Dame, then the Sidney Harbor, and then eventually the World Trade Center Towers. The movie does an excellent job building the excitement into what it took to eventually pull off that implossible event. All of the main players of the event are interviewed now more than 30 years after the event, and Philippe Petit turns out to be a master entertainer and story teller. When you are watching it all unvolve, you can't but help be in awe of it all. Just exilerating, period.
If this movie doesn't get serious consideration of being nominated for best documentary of 2008 at the Oscars, there is something terribly wrong with the entire system. This is one of the most enthralling movies I've seen this year, and I've seen a lot of movies....more info
- 5 Stars! A crowd pleaser!
I purchased MAN ON WIRE from Amazon and paid the public screening rights from the film's distributor in order to show it @ the SFASU Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in Nacogdoches, TX. This film brought out the crowds and kept them glued to their seats! MAN ON WIRE is fun, historic, and a thriller all wrapped into one. No wonder it's up for an Academy Award! --C.Cutler, Director of Galleries...more info
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- high wire art
This BBC documentary tells the story of how on August 4, 1974 Philippe Petit (b. 1949) danced, sat, knelt and lay down on a tight rope that was strung between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The stunt lasted 45 minutes, during which time he traversed the cable eight times. Since we know when the film begins where it will end and what it's about, the plot consists of retelling the secret logistics, dumb luck, and extraordinary skill of the team that Petit assembled. The directors incorporate archival footage, still photos, re-enactments, and lengthy interviews with the team members. As is fitting, Petit himself narrates most of his own story. Why did he do it? That, he says, is a quintessentially American question. Bravery and skill, yes, but also joy and beauty. And how did they secure the 450-pound cable 200 feet between the two towers? Watch this fascinating film, which is based on Petit's book To Reach the Clouds (2002)....more info
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
- 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
- Beautiful documentary of a charming eccentric frenchman and his walk across the skies
It was during the summer of 2000, roughly a year before 9/11 that i was a tourist at the world trade centre and went to the top and could see the sheer magnificence of man's creativity and sense of urban architecture at its finest moment. I also suffer from a mild fear of heights, so when we went on the top, i was almost gripping the railing (even though its on a separate protective structure) for dear life, but after awhile once my senses adjusted to the height. I was blown apart by the view and the whole largesse of the situation. but i digress..
It is without a doubt an act of sheer lunacy that a person would actually have the gall to tightrope walk across the towers, from my memory of my tour up there, the very notion is mind boggling to say the least.
The documentary itself is a carefully and efficiently prepared sequence of re-enactments and collages of photos with certain video footage pertaining to network and news archives of those covering the story at that time. I have to admit, watching the documentary alone, i started feeling a bit dizzy :)
Its an amazing documentary that details how Phillipe meticulously planned the whole operation and his thoughts on the same on why it had to be done. He comes across as a person with such a passion and desire for life, love and happiness that its an inspiration just to see this documentary and how his totally insane act will change you and encourage you to go and truly live life.
Thank you Monsieur Petit, it was a great show, which would have been something else to actually see live.
10 Star rating, a keeper in my collection. ...more info
- NO WORDS
No real words exist to explain it. A masterpiece straight up. Beyond belief. Should be seen by everyone. I am haunted by the music by Erik Satie called Gymnopedies 1. Not to be missed!
- I saw it and still don't believe it
I saw this movie in a local theater about a month ago and I can't stop thinking about it. It's a good, well constructed documentary film that uses some recreated scenes as well as current interviews and period film and photos. The story of how Phillipe Petit planned and executed a tightrope walk between the twin towers is laid bare. 1350 feet in the air, 200 feet across. It was hard to believe even as I watched it. It seemed inspiring and insane all at once. I don't know if he's courageous or crazy but I suspect the answer is both.
If this movie sounds the least bit interesting to you, go ahead and get it. You won't be disappointed. If I hadn't seen it on the last night of it's run at the theater I might have gone more than once....more info
- Magnificent Obsession - "There is no why ..."
When asked why he climbed Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary reportedly replied, "Because it's there." Perhaps the same reply is apropos of Philippe Petit in his magnificent obsession to traverse the yawning chasm between the twin towers of the World Trade Center via tightrope.
"Man on Wire" traces the daunting logistics and team effort needed to prepare for the tightrope walk, and the many challenges that nearly fragmented the effort. The film's climax is the breathtaking high wire walk, set to the accompaniment of Erik Satie's "Gymnopedia", a beautiful blend of music and image that carries viewers to the heights.
That we now know the grim fate of those twin towers 30+ years later lends added poignancy to the memory of the structure's construction and the creative impulse it inspired in others. In Petit, it inspired a creative yet defiant act of performance art that had no genuine "why." To madmen who hijacked airplanes and the plotters who sent them and others to their death, the twin towers inspired hatred of all that the West symbolized to them.
Philippe Petit became a man on wire to defy convention, to assert his uniqueness and to do something lyrical just for the hell of it.
The movie soars and will take you with it!
- Man On Wire = WOW never knew this happened!
Really cool documentary. I never knew that this event even took place. Worth the watch. ...more info
- Involving, bracing documentaries don't always have to be about negative topics
Immensely entertaining documentary about Philippe Petit, a kind of "performance terrorist", who instead of plotting to destroy the world's most famous buildings and monuments, performs on them via his high wire act. "Man on Wire" recounts his most famous stunt: sneaking into the newly-built World Trade Center in 1974, stringing a wire between the two towers, and performing an elegant high-wire act for almost an hour before being hauled off by police. His eventual punishment? He had to perform his juggling and high wire act for New York's children in free performances in Central Park. So even the authorities weren't too peeved with Mr. Petit for his memorable crime.
Cleverly filmed in the style of a heist movie, "Man on Wire" moves along at a nice clip, featuring a variety of interviews with Mr. Petit and his compatriots intercut with tense re-enactments of the infiltration of the World Trade Center on that memorable day in 1974. What's also graceul about the film is that it never mentions the horrible events of September 11, 2001, but by including material about the construction of the towers and what they symbolized at the time, the film also subtly functions as a memorial to their passing.
Extra features include a 20-minute featurette about a similar stunt Mr. Petit successfully pulled off in Australia about a year before the World Trade Center event; a 12-minute interview with Mr. Petit that seems to have been conducted after the film wrapped (as he discusses at length his impressions of the movie); and- most impressively- a nine-minute animated film that recounts Mr. Petit's World Trade Center adventure in a wonderful storybook-style aimed at children. This short cartoon is very well done.
Absolutely recommended for documentary fans, "Man on Wire" will also be immensely entertaining for those who only occasionally delve into the non-fiction filmmaking genre. One can easily see why it won the Academy Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary Film on February 22, 2009. ...more info