Friday, June 26, 2009

Wire Service

We recently watched Man on Wire, and we both enjoyed it. During the movie, I couldn't help but think how such a feat would be nearly impossible to pull off today, even if the twin towers were still standing. Some would argue that though security and litigation, we've effectively banished from our lives the kind of wonder and beauty that people like Philipe Petit provide. I think there is some truth to this view, but I think it overly romanticizes the past and shortchanges the artists of today. All memorable art is subversive in some way, and there's never been, nor will there ever be, a shortage of beliefs and assumptions that someone will feel the need to challenge though artistic expression.

The film itself is quite beautiful, thanks to a wealth of archival photographs and video. If you're afraid of heights, you will definitely feel a bit uncomfortable watching this movie, even though most of the images of the wire walk are stills. While a wire walk between the two (at the time) tallest buildings in the world seems insane, there is a certain logic to it. You're unlikely to survive a fall from anything much taller than a two story building. Since no one would really care if you walked across a wire strung between the 8th floors of the twin towers, you might as well go all the way to the top. In either scenario, you'll be just as dead if you fall, but if you survive at the top, you'll become a legend.

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