A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".
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Clifton Collins Jr.,
On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit, a French wire walker, juggler, and street performer days shy of his 25th birthday, spent 45 minutes walking, dancing, kneeling, and lying on a wire he and friends strung between the rooftops of the Twin Towers. Uses contemporary interviews, archival footage, and recreations to tell the story of his previous walks between towers of Notre Dame and of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, his passions and friendships, and the details of the night before the walk: getting cable into the towers, hiding from guards, and mounting the wire. It ends with observations of the profound changes the walk's success brought to Philippe and those closest to him. Written by
We saw this film at the Edinburgh Film Festival, it's European premier, and it was a packed audience. Unfortunately due to an error, the reels were swapped in the middle of the film, which threw the timing a bit but to be honest the poor organisers looked so miserable as they apologised that no one minded, and the film was just as beautiful as it should have been.
We were lucky enough to have a Q&A with the director and the star, Philippe Petit where we all asked the same old questions; 'how did it feels?' 'are you scared of death?' 'what made you do it?' but what made the experience and the film so refreshing was the personality of Petit. Of course you would assume he is a rampant egotist, he was a very good looking young man, talented, with a raft of friends happy to be involved in his dangerous and exciting endevours. Petit is actually incredibly funny and oblivious. I would describe his act not as simply entertainment but as a sublime experience, taking us to the edge of terror and death.
I was worried I'd spend the whole film with clammy hands, watching a guy on a high wire so high up, but his friend describes it so well the feeling you get watching him walk up there, it's so poetic and peaceful.
This is a very unusual film, very beautiful and exciting. I would say that it is suitable for any age but take your mum and dad, they'll love it.
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