miércoles, 21 de julio de 2010

Orbis Terrarum Film Mini-Challenge: Man on Wire

Man on Wire (Magnolia DVD, 2008)
Directed by James Marsh
England, 2008

Ridiculously entertaining documentary about French tightrope walker Philippe Petit's August 7th, 1974, 45-minute waltz back and forth across a wire illegally strung up between the Twin Towers in NYC.  Although Man on Wire benefits from some of Petit's own period footage (early training videos capture him and his friends as a bunch of essentially overgrown kids seemingly entirely committed to helping the aerialist pursue his daredevil dreams), I think its soul probably lies in the remarkable series of candid interviews assembled by director James Marsh.  The playfully boyish Petit (in his later years at least, sort of a John Lydon-lookalike), his contemplative ex-girlfriend, and other friends and misfit partners in crime seem to have shared a unique camaraderie while they planned the World Trade Center stunt, and Marsh manages to capture the feeling that they really believed Petit's high-wire act to be less of a potential suicide in the making and more of a gift of rebellious art to a public in dire need of it.  Overly idealistic?  Perhaps.  But while the part of me that's not particularly fond of heights and/or unnecessarily risky behavior in general may still reject that sort of thinking out of hand, man, what a rush to see that smiling dreamer dancing in the clouds over lower Manhattan!  (http://www.magpictures.com/)

Philippe Petit (l) and James Marsh celebrate Man on Wire's win for Best Documentary at the 2009 Academy Awards.

Note: I "forgot" to mention the Orbis Terrarum Film Mini-Challenge earlier in the month because I was the only participant last time, but I'll continue to "host" this mini-challenge every other month regardless of anyone else's interest in it.  No worries, really!  If you have any foreign film reviews to share for July, though, please send me a link and I'll include it below.  In the meantime, The Baader Meinhof Complex [Der Baader Meinhof Komplex] (Germany, 2008, dir. Uli Edel) was my first selection for the event back in May (a good time but no Man on Wire).  Out.

5 comentarios:

  1. I'm so glad to hear good things about this documentary! I should have just watched this, instead of slogging through the (to me) mediocre Let the Great World Spin, which I'm getting grumpier about with every glowing review I read. Humph. Seriously, I'm all about the situationalist performance art, and I fully intend to check this out in the near future. Thanks for the reminder!

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  2. This documentary sounds great! I love foreign movies, so this challenge is right up my alley. I haven't watched any of your top 5 except Amelie (which I loved!), so thanks for the recommendation, I will look for them. I can't think of my top foreign movies on top of my head right now. How about Run, Lola Run? Have you watched that one? Great fun film!

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  3. Really enjoyed this one too. Emily , you should watch it and purge memories of your uninspiring read. :) And Richard, I better get watching something as I think I mentioned that I would do this too.

    Appears you are still eye candy deficient up top, friend.

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  4. I've been meaning to finish watching this movie for ages. I caught most of it when we played it at the theater I work at. It really is a great doc. And I too said I would participate in the film challenge - I have many films to write about, but I'm rather backed up on blog entries...! :)

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  5. *Emily: My dad sent me the DVD months ago, and I kept putting off watching it for no good reason. Idiot! Hard to imagine you not liking this, esp. with the "situationalist performance art" angle/revelation you mention here. Hope you have a chance to watch it soon!

    *Mee: It's a really, really fun movie--totally jazzed about it! If you end up watching a film for the mini-challenge, I'll be very excited to check out your review 'cause your blog, which is new to me, looks awesome. Thanks for the visit! P.S. I did like Run Lola Run. However, my favorite recent German film was probably The Lives of Others.

    *Frances: Would love to have you join in at any point in time, but I'll be running the film thing again in September and November if July's too busy for you. As for your latest Jill-like eye candy comment, I hear you...but the right side of the masthead photo works for me at least. By the way, you'd be thanking me if you'd only seen the Dostoevsky author pix I rejected!

    *Sarah: Welcome back from summer vacation! Like I told Frances, you have two more months to participate if July's too busy for you with all your catch-up posts and everything. However, I'd naturally love to see what movie(s) you'd have in mind. Cheers!

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