Title: Man on Wire
Director: James Marsh
Actor: Philippe Petit (himself)
Duration: 90 minutes
Rating: PG 13
Past after 7 in the morning at Manhattan, New York City when Philippe Petit danced on wire between the twin towers of the former World Trade Center. For many years since he was 16, he dreamed of walking on these buildings when he first saw the news on a local newspaper in France, that the buildings were still being built while waiting for his dental appointment. He says that he can withstand the pain of a toothache for a week but not the joy of walking on clouds for many years.
The film shows how Phillipe conquered walking on wire on the Notre Dam Cathedral in Paris, France and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. Several of his friends also shares how they planned that day of August 7, 1974, the day when Phillipe crossed the two towers for 45 minutes for 8 times. He was charged Trespassing and Behavioral Misconduct and then dropped after agreeing with the city mayor to perform several shows in the city.
Petite is a rebellious Frenchman who taught himself how to juggle and walk on wire by himself. At first, he had the talent and artistry. It is his passion, perseverance and love for what he is doing best moved me until the film finishes. Not to mention the criticality and how high his dreams were, Petit is a living proof that impossible things can be achieved.
Treatment and Structure
How the interviews were conducted is very outstanding. The people clearly showed how they were also moved by Petit’s dream to walk on clouds. The humor of the interviewees gives a light feeling as you hyperventilate at the height where Petit walked with a thin wire at Paris, Sydney and New York.
A solo piano piece pierces my heart when it plays after an hour and a half long of build up of plans to walk on top of the towers when Petit finally stepped on the wire, when the interviewees cried as they shares joy and fulfilment and when you can relate the feeling of achieving your own dreams with your hardwork and perseverance.
Only pictures are shown when Phillipe walked on wire between the towers. This maybe because that the person who is supposed to take the video got too exhausted pulling the 1000-lbs wire when it slipped while they were setting it up before the sun rises. The pictures taken by Jean-Louis Blondeau were astounding!
The lighting director used Rembrandt technique. Also, Marsh has selected good soundtrack as Petit progress with his dreams. The re-enactment, costumes and black and white effect added impeccable contemplation that brings you back to 1970s.
Pictures are copyrighted by Blondeau, Discovery Films and BBC Storyville. You may check Blondeau’s website for Phillipe’s pictures.