Man on Wire • 2008

Category: People
Download:

Man on Wire is a 2008 documentary film directed by James Marsh. The film chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center and is based on Philippe Petit's book, To Reach the Clouds, which has recently been released in paperback with the new title Man on Wire. The film is crafted like a heist film, presenting rare footage of the preparations for the event and still photographs of the walk, alongside reenactments (with Paul McGill as the young Petit) and modern-day interviews with the participants. Native New Yorkers know to expect the unexpected, but who among them could've predicted that a man would stroll between the towers of the World Trade Center? French high-wire walker Philippe Petit did just that on August 7th, 1974. Petit’s success may come as a foregone conclusion, but British filmmaker James Marsh’s pulse-pounding documentary still plays more like a thriller than a non-fiction entry--in fact, it puts most thrillers to shame. Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip, The King) starts by looking at Petit's previous stunts. First, he took on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, then Sydney's Harbour Bridge before honing in on the not-yet-completed WTC. The planning took years, and the prescient Petit filmed his meetings with accomplices in France and America. Marsh smoothly integrates this material with stylized re-enactments and new interviews in which participants emerge from the shadows as if to reveal deep, dark secrets which, in a way, they do, since Petit's plan was illegal, "but not wicked or mean." The director documents every step they took to circumvent security, protocol, and physics as if re-creating a classic Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville caper. Though still photographs capture the feat rather than video, the resulting images will surely blow as many minds now as they did in the 1970s when splashed all over the media. Not only did Petit walk, he danced and even lay down on the cable strung between the skyscrapers. It competed in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary and the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary. In February 2009, the film won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

You might also like

Human Flow

Human Flow is director and artist Ai Weiwei's detailed and heartbreaking exploration into the global refugee crisis.

2017 • People

The Lie We Live

Exposing the truth about our corrupt world. My name is Spencer Cathcart and this is a short documentary film I made & wrote. In the video I question our freedom, the education system, corporations, money, the American capitalist system, the US government, world collapse, the environment, climate change, genetically modified food, and our treatment of animals.

People

Nuclear Family

“A Nuclear Family” begins as the Cold War ends — and North Korea has lost Soviet patronage, and with it, the security it guarantees and the economic support that has sustained the country for nearly half a century

3/4Inside North Korea's Dynasty • 2018 • People

Citizenfour

A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.

2014 • People

What Matters Most in Life?

What is the most important thing in life? Money? Happiness? Love? Those things are certainly important, but what matters most is...

People

Don't Panic - The Truth About Population

Using state-of-the-art 3D graphics and the timing of a stand-up comedian, world-famous statistician Professor Hans Rosling presents a spectacular portrait of our rapidly changing world.

People