Monday, December 29, 2008
Man on wire
What would you do for art? How about doing a high wire walk between the Twin Towers? That's what Philippe Petit did in 1974 and it makes for one of the most fascinating documentaries I have seen in my life. Petit, a high wire artist had become famous for walking across the Notre Dame Cathedral and on a bridge near the Australia Opera House. But he became obsessed with the idea of doing a performance in the soon to be inaugurated World Trade Center.
This would not only mean doing the improbable act, but also breaking in the towers, avoiding security and throwing a line from one tower to the other using (get this) a bow and arrow. Well, how he and some friends did it is recreated in this movie and it has more suspense than any heist movie you have seen. And against all odds and quite frankly, common sense, they did it.
And then there's the footage of his high wire walk. One is in awe of someone like that. One feels he is a genius, an artist, a madman. It is a quite a sight.
And then there is a curious thing. There is never any mention of the destruction of the towers in the movie. And I'm happy that there is none. Because for 90 minutes the towers are there, as real as anything in the world. Perhaps this movie is the real work of art that people will will remember about them. And it is so damn beautiful.