Thursday, October 9, 2008

Man on Wire

DAN - In 1973, construction was officially completed on the World Trade Center. One year later, a tightrope walker named Philippe Petit walked between the roofs of the Twin Towers on a high wire, and he did it without anyone’s permission. His antics are chronicled in Man on Wire, a documentary by James Marsh.

This is a magical film. The story, visuals, music, and “characters” are presented in a way that had me wholly captivated.

The story is told firsthand through interviews with Petit and his cohorts. Each person has a distinct and genuine personality, and it is evident that they are each proud (and sometimes ecstatic) to have been a part of this inverted scheme. Petit in particular is a fantastic and physically active storyteller.

The film’s visuals, aside from the interviews, consist of archive footage, photography, and reenactments. I was surprised by how cohesive all of this material is; the cinematography of the black and white footage from the ‘60s meshes perfectly with the modern segments. It’s a delight to see Petit and his friends running through tall grass and wrestling like giddy children.

The film’s music supports a sense of wonderment. In particular, Erik Satie’s “First GymnopĂ©die” left an impression on me.

Man on Wire serves as an uplifting memory to associate with the World Trade Center in light of more recent events. It is a true heist story in which there are no victims, and nothing is stolen. Rather, Petit provides his audience with inspiration.

No comments: