Man on Wire is an exhilarating, soaring, uplifting, wonderful work of art. It is the kind of film that inspires one to achieve their dreams –and what makes it so special is the same thing that makes sport so special to me – it’s real. It happened. It’s not a Hollywood production, it was produced by BBC and Discovery. It’s a compelling mixture of interviews, archival footage, and historical re-enactments. For a change those re-enactments are actually true to life because the same men who are being portrayed are narrating their stories! There is little creative license that the director (James Marsh, who did a fantastic job!) could take with a scene where Philippe and his friend were hiding from the police underneath a tarpaulin – camera angle and lighting at most!
Testimony of Sgt. Charles Daniels, one of the first policemen at the top of the Twin Towers:
“I observed the tightrope ‘dancer’—because you couldn’t call him a ‘walker’—approximately halfway between the two towers. And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire….And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle….He was bouncing up and down. His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again….Unbelievable really…”
This is about the triumph of the human spirit – about achieving the impossible. And I credit none other than Philippe Petit himself for that. What a man. He narrated most of his story himself and he told it with such vigor, such elan, such joie de vivre, such energy, that one could not help but be spellbound by this sparkling man’s sheer charisma. He had a dream, and despite his knowledge that it was impossible, he went for it. He was not afraid of failure, and refused to be tied down, quite literally. He has immense confidence in his own abilities and he exploited his God-given talents to the fullest in his incredible feat – practically defining self-actualization. I have never seen anyone who fits that description more perfectly. We’ve read about such people, we’ve seen them in movies – this man has lived in that state, and continues to do so.
And it is his spirit that has inspired me to rewrite this post from scratch after a Firefox crash wiped out all of it – because this story can help people reach great heights – and this is why you should watch this.
“What a beautiful death to die in the arms of your passion.” – Philippe Petit