Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Man on Wire

"If I was to die, what a beautiful die in pursuit of your passion. -"Philippe Petit

What a great week for movies. I just finished watching the documentary MAN ON WIRE about the 1974 stunt by wire walker Philippe Petit who walked across a wire strung across the Twin Towers of New York EIGHT TIMES. I remember as a kid being fascinated by the towers also and I remember seeing news coverage of this event. What is it about the French that create these kind of daredevils? Even before they were built he had the dream of walking from one to another after seeing an article about them in a French newspaper. Imagine the genesis of a dream even before the target of your dream even came into existence. It seems at times like the towers were built only for Phillipe to walk across. He warmed up by wire walking between the spires of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The documentary unfolds like the best caper films due mostly to Petit's unbridled enthusiasm for the moment and although you know how the story ends you are rivetted. You are swept into the elegance and poetry of the moment. I still smile when I think of the exhilaration of the moment when he steps on the wire. Amazing. In a world of CGI heroics its refreshing to see the actual thing. The lesson is simple: When you risk your life for art you sometimes have the chance at becoming immortal.

"A reminder that even the most quixotic of undertakings can knock over a windmill now and then." - Christopher Orr

My favorite movie poster as a kid shows the magic that the towers envoked. How strangely fitting that 9/11 created an iconic ending for the structures. Almost like anything less would have been an unworthy death for them. Not that I ever wished for them to come down with all the accompanying deaths. Strange how ones perspective alters with time.

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