The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

MAN ON WIRE (2008) ***

In 1974, a French performance artist and tightrope walker named Philippe Petit strung a wire across the World Trade Center and walked across.  Man on Wire is a documentary about that event and also covers Petit’s preparation and planning methods, his other tightrope walking feats (including tightrope walking across Notre Dame), as well as the New York City police’s reactions to his “crime”.  (He got off with a slap on the wrist.)


Petit remains an enigma for the most part because in on camera interviews, he always shies away from “WHY” he did it.  (“Because it’s there!”)  Basically, he did it because he’s a crazy ass Frenchie street performer and those fuckers will do anything for attention.  The actual footage of Petit walking across the World Trade Center is quite amazing, but I was a little bummed that the filmmakers had to resort to Unsolved Mysteries style reenactments for a lot of scenes.  At least one of these scenes is a Clockwork Orange inspired fast motion sex scene between Petit and a high wire groupie.  (There aren’t many of THOSE around; that’s for damn sure.)  To me though, the most fascinating part of the film was the stock footage of the Towers being constructed.  It was sorta chilling to think that something that took so long to construct could be decimated so quickly on 9/11. 


Man on Wire isn’t a perfect film.  It gets kinda dull in spots and featured way too many scenes of Petit riding around on a unicycle like a goddamn mime from Hell for me.  If anything though, Man on Wire is a good document of a crazy motherfucker doing something fucking crazy.  Although I have zero tolerance for street performers (especially French ones), even I have to give the man some props for doing something that insane. 


(Special Note:  I don’t want anybody giving me shit for calling Petit a mere “street performer” since he was performing 110 stories ABOVE the street.  His AUDIENCE was in the street looking up at him; hence a street performer.)

Tags: documentary, m

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