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Empathy Machines

Movie, Book, and Music Conversations

Month

March 2017

MAN ON WIRE Movie Review

The word on the cover of the DVD box perfectly describes this movie: “exhilarating.”

James Marsh’s documentary of the tight-rope heist of Philippe Petit is something to behold.

On August 7th, 1974 Philippe Petit and his motley crew surreptitiously rigged a wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City…and he walked across that wire, and danced across that wire, and ran across that wire–eight times, over the course of almost an hour, taunting the police.

He was up so high, the crowd below could barely make him out.

Technically what he did was a crime, but certainly it was one of the most wonderful crimes ever committed.

This beautiful film is tensely exciting and extremely interesting, painting as it does a portrait of the 1970s era in which Philippe’s Petit’s greatest high wire act was performed.

The film follows Philippe’s progression toward the twin towers–first performing in the streets of France, then crossing two points on a cathedral.

In a way, this film is a time-travelling way for Americans to get the World Trade Center back–September 11th is never mentioned.

Our attention is held from the first shot to the last–the wire is stretched across the length of the film, and the emotional climax is well worth the wait.

“If you want something, nothing is impossible.” –Philippe Petit.

Indeed.

If you want to see a great documentary movie, rent this the first chance you get: MAN ON WIRE.

Curtis Smale

 

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