Friday, March 2, 2012

Amazing Man on Wire


About a year ago I saw the film Man on Wire on a friend's TV. This is the documentary about Phillipe Petit who tight rope walked between the Twin Towers in 1974. As a documentary film it is brilliantly edited, deftly told with many of the people who helped him sneak in and set up the wire, the background music has been laid in brilliantly -- Eric Satie and Vaughn Williams' Lark Ascending among others. It won an Oscar for best documentary.

I saw it again this afternoon on a larger screen and was even more moved than the first time. We see a driven individual with an great skill and intense passion to perform feats high in the air that become works of art -- more moving than most "happenings" because they are nearly superhuman. They touch an archetypal feeling, that we can walk on air, which is akin to the flying dreams most people have had. We see clearly when Petit finally walks out on the wire that that he is consciously defying death. Yet he is able to put himself into a meditative state that allowed him to walk back and fourth eight times, lie down on the wire, get up and dance on the wire -- proving he was in HIS element which everyone watching knew to be supernatural. The feat is thrilling. The man's spirit, intense and yet full of fun, is more elfin than human except that he is totally driven from the moment he saw in a paper that the the Towers would be built. He extended the definition of what is humanly possible as surely as have the astronauts, as have Beethoven or Vermeer or Shakespeare. Few people comprehend that, indeed, man is not limited by the forces of gravity. Only the fabled yogis have demonstrated this in the past and we don't have them on film.

1 comment:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Excellent review June -- barbara