Tag Archives: James Marsh

From the Archives: Man on Wire (2008)

23 Feb

There is a moment toward the end of James Marsh’s documentary feature, “Man on Wire,” when our high-wire impresario protagonist Philippe Petit utters the words: “Life should be lived on the edge of life” – at once so perfectly and profoundly encapsulating the very essence of this mesmerizing story of the power of dreams and the pursuit of the impossible. Upon his arrest after completing the “artistic crime of the century” by tightrope walking between the newly constructed twin towers of the World Trade Centre in August 1974, Philippe recounts how he was met with one question: “Why?” His simple retort – “Why? There is no why,” cheekily dismissing the question as “very American” – portrays a virtuous frontier spirit that is as admirable as it is foolhardy. That said, Philippe is a rare breed, and his enthusiasm for his performance is little diluted 34 years on and that in part is what makes his story so fascinating and relevant.

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