Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Man On Wire

I know this documentary, Man on Wire, came out years ago.  Somehow, it stayed on my radar all these years as a film I wanted to see but never saw.  I always remembered the blue cover and the tiny figure of a man, just a speck in the sky.  I finally saw it the other day.

For those who haven't seen the film, it's about Philippe Petit, a wire walker who crossed (danced, tip-toed, conquered) a wire between the top of the Twin Towers in 1974.  The film follows the journey from idea to execution.  It is illegal to do such a dangerous stunt.  To hear from the men and women involved in this enormous undertaking is fascinating.

Two 'images' struck me in the film.  Both, just anecdotes.  One from Philippe himself.  He sat in a dentist's office and saw a photo of the planned Twin Towers in a magazine.  They hadn't even been built yet and he envisioned a wire between the two.  A wire he decided, at that moment, he would walk.

The second from his girlfriend at the time, Annie, who said Philippe had decided she would be his girlfriend, sent flowers, chocolates, made phonecalls, showed up at her door and asked for endless dates until she agreed.

This kind of certainty impressed me.  To know what you want, to have such a singular purpose, and chase it until it is yours. 

I thought it was an appropriate sentiment to bring to a new year. 

Have you seen the film?  Anything you wish you chase in this life?


  1. Scary to think about. I haven't seen this movie, but I had head of the man. The level of confidence impresses me.

  2. I haven't seen the film, but you are right: the single-mindedness of his purpose is astonishing. And he seemed to accomplish what he wanted, too. Failure was not an option, clearly.

    A good role model, even if I am terrified of heights.

  3. This sounds like one I'd like to see. And a good attitude to adopt as long as you don't lose sight of everything else on the ground. ;0)

  4. Saw it a few years ago when it was nominated for best doc for the Academy Awards. I can't imagine ever thinking of walking on a high wire between the towers. Someone has to be a bit unhinged to do something like that. The fact that he saw it as art was very interesting.

    I can't believe he walked between the towers with no support, no net, no way to catch him if he fell. Their whole operation sneaking in was chilling to watch considering what happened to the towers in 2001; the whole thing is haunting just for the fact the towers no longer exist.

    I thought it was sad at the end when he totally ditched his steadfast girlfriend for random women who wanted to hook up with him. I admire his stunt but I lost respect for him with those ending clips.

  5. It was an amazing film! As for chasing, this year my word is "enough." As in, there is, and I have and I am and it is...I'm chasing happiness in what I already possess. :)

  6. I haven't seen this film, but just that picture makes me nervous! I can't even watch the high wire act in the circus. 4 real. Still, I love the sentiment. I need to work on having that certainty.

  7. Just looking at that picture made me dizzy!

  8. I haven't seen the film, but the guy certainly has some guts to do something so scary! I suppose the moral of the story is, if you believe that you can do something, then you can.