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date: 16th Dec 2013

tags: Art, Biography

A maverick, a dreamer, an artist: Philippe Petit is all of these things and more. On a slightly windy day in the summer of 1974, a lone figure appeared high above the heads of the people of Manhattan, balancing perfectly on a high wire strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  “Man on Wire” is his story.


Man on Wire

Director James Marsh set out to discover the story behind Petit’s extraordinary feat. Phillipe Petit had done high wire stunts before – on Notre Dame Cathedral and Sydney Harbor Bridge, but it was the infamous Twin Towers walk which made his name. The performer danced on the wire for almost an hour, ignoring the pleas from police to get down, rejoicing in his artistic expression. Even more astonishing than the feat itself, was that it was performed illegally – he and his rag-tag bunch of associates had to prepare for the entire act in secrecy. It was the “the artistic crime of the century”.

Man on Wire” is a spectacle of human achievement, tenacity and sheer amazement. Marsh combines archival footage and hair-raising dramatic re-enactment to tell the story of Petit and his rebellious team of artistic innovators. Marsh worked very closely with Petit. According to Marsh, Petit’s main question to him was “Will you make some mischief with me?”

The film has met with extraordinary acclaim, winning both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards for Best World Documentary. It can also include the Academy Award for Best Documentary and the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film in its long list of honours.

Now’s your chance to see the documentary that had everyone talking. You can watch “Man on Wire” now through our Premium Rental Service, or through your participating public library.

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