Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review: Subdue your fear of heights alongside Philippe Petit, a Man on Wire in Paris and NYC; see movie at Robinson Film Center

Imagine a top-hatted unicyclist in the traffic alongside the Citroens of Paris. Under his black stovepipe he wears black turtleneck, black bell-bottoms and black ballet flats. Over his should is a stiff coil of rope.

If you were in Paris in the romantic late 60’s you were catching a glimpse of Philippe Petit, a gifted young magician, mime, pickpocket and wire walker.

Though he became a star performer in Paris, Petit’s ambition lay far beyond his home. Being constructed in NYC was a stunning project called the World Trade Center. Petit felt that the WTC would be the ultimate challenge for his unusual skills in wire-walking.

The movie Man On Wire is the 90-minute story of Petit’s struggle to build a team among his freewheeling peers and stage their illegal assault upon the WTC.

It is a well-paced and absorbing movie. Petit, well-preserved and vibrant at age 58, tells the story. He has the footage from France in the 70’s when his conspiracy was set in motion.

It is almost a movie for all ages. There is one quasi-comic but adult scene in which the hero pauses to enjoy one of his many female admirers after his triumph at the WTC.

Man On Wire is a stimulating interchange with a gifted and marvelously wacky fellow. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Robinson Film Center schedule.

No comments: