Saturday, March 7, 2009

Enchantment is about the best term I can think of for this film, "Man On Wire".  Turns out it's not all that obscure, but if you haven't seen it, you should.  It's about a tight rope walker who decided to put a wire between the Twin Towers. Some of my family seemed to think it was a little ridiculous in parts, but it made my spirit feel light and I actually preferred it (it's a documentary) to any movie I've seen in quite a while.  At one point, Phillippe's (the tightrope walker) girlfriend Annie says of him, "He's so excessive, so creative - so each day is like a work of art to him." I think you will agree this shot is breathtaking.

It takes a team of Phillippe's friends 6 years to plan the endeavor and they rig the wires in the middle of the night, one August in '76 (?). Phillippe already had a history of walking in the clouds in crazy places, which went hand in hand with a history of arrests. After being arrested post-twin-towers excursion, the police write-up named the incident "Man On Wire", thus the name of the film. Another favorite quote of mine: one of his "accomplices" says, "I guess I was the kind of guy who was, you know, not averse to things that... were... weren't completely legal."
Throughout the whole documentary, no one mentions that the Towers are no longer there (it was made in 2008), but there's footage of them going up in the 60s-70s and they were really... stately. I wish I had seen them standing.  My english teacher was telling us about the first time she realized that talking about the impact of the Vietnam war to college students didn't really mean anything because it was no longer our generation that was defined by that war. She was pondering what it would be in our generation that turns out to be that defining moment. I remember right where I was when I heard about the Twin Towers, though I think I only remember because my mom said I would, just as she remembers where she was when she heard the news of JFK's assassination. Somewhat random, but also connected - I remember by my house in Urumqi, China (2007), by the curve in the road where the middle school let out, there was a tightrope rig set up in someone's quart yard. I heard that there was a young Turkish girl, about 6 or 7, who came out to practice on it every now and then, and I always looked for her, but I never did get to see her practice. (This last photo is really Phillippe, if I'm not mistaken - I'm finding myself more and more grateful that my mum took so many then-embarassing pictures of me as a kid).


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