Film Discussion 04: Man On Wire

A great film and a great discussion. We covered topics in Man on Wire such as an artist's relation to death, why wire walking is so beautiful and inspiring, how this event really was once in a lifetime and more. I feel like Nick, Irene and I barely scratched the surface of these topics, especially the worth of an artist's endeavor, so I'd love to hear what you think about this film and our discussion!

Below I've included some of the videos and films we touched on, as well as some related quotations I found doing research for tonight's discussion. Hope they're helpful!

And don't forget to join us on Saturday, March 9 at 10am PST to discuss The Wizard of Oz. See you there!

Show Notes

1. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

[ted id=453]

A fascinating Ted talk discussing the place of outside inspiration and it's role for creativity and geniuses. Definitely worth a watch if you do anything creative. Plus, it's only 19 minutes.

2. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

This is the other documentary Irene brought up when we started talking about the recent rise of documentary films in our culture due to their accessibility thanks to services like Netflix and Hulu.

3. Red Bull Stratos

The jury was out during our discussion of whether this jump was as beautiful (not necessarily as cool Irene) as the wire walking. What's your verdict?

4. "The Movie Review: 'Man on Wire'" by Chris Orr

The conclusion is bittersweet, though, as Petit’s exploit, and the attendant fame and ego, eventually divided him from his closest friends and accomplices. His stunt was truly an ending, not a beginning, and everyone involved seems to have understood that the future would never again hold anything quite so glorious...

...The time and place that Man on Wire capture so indelibly are both gone forever. It is not merely that it would be impossible to accomplish a feat like Petit’s today; it would be almost impossible even to conceive it. Our dreams have grown narrower and our fears wider, and risking so much (and finding so many others willing to share the risk) for a few brief moments of transcendence feels beyond imagining. The only people who plot so long and so deep today, it seems, are those with lethal intentions.

5. "Walking on Air: Go see Man on Wire" by Dana Stevens

It's more like a real-life heist picture, one in which the final prize isn't a vault full of cash but an act of pure, useless, and terrifying beauty.
6. "Man on Wire: Stirring documentary" by Peter Howell
This film is a celebration of human achievement; it soars with the promise that we are shackled to the ground only by lack of imagination and will.
7. "A magnificent balancing act" by Colin Covert
There's nothing on movie screens now that can compare with the footage of Petit's performance. Even in an era of mind-bending CGI effects, seeing a person actually walking and dancing 1,350 feet above the street is astonishing.
8. "Man on Wire" by Amy Biancolli
It was guerilla performance art before the language was coined to describe it. He tip-toed another line, the line between insanity and genius, as he walked through the air above Manhattan. The towers might be gone now. But the sky between them remains — and belongs to Petit.
9. "Folie à Deux: A heist picture about one of the greatest stunts in New York history" by David Edelstein 
This is his manifesto: Seize the space, fill the void, defy society’s soul-killing laws, define yourself through action. Very existentialist, very inspiring, unless you happen to be driving under the Sydney Harbor Bridge when you see a lunatic up high and hit the brakes and someone crashes into you from behind, or something heavy lands on your car roof with a sickening thud and you die. But prudish objections fade. There’s a long shot of Petit on that bridge in which you can’t see the wire, and it’s the damnedest thing: He looks like he’s walking on the air. There’s another shot of him suspended between the towers of Notre Dame: Inside, priests are prostrating themselves before the altar, unaware that there’s a man above them swaying on a tiny wire and juggling. We must learn to take our miracles where we find them.