Saturday, October 3, 2009
Man On Wire. A
We believe that the cinema’s capacity for getting around, for observing and selecting from life itself can be exploited in a new and vital art form" -John Grierson, First Principles of Documentary.
This quote is very relevant to why documentaries aren't just important pieces of cinema, but integral to the education system. Hollywood could have taken Philippe Petit's story and made it into an entertaining heist drama (the film itself is actually crafted to create a real, harrowing suspense). But then, we have no guarantee that everything we see and hear is fact. In a documentary however, we know from the actual human being's words that what we hear is the truth. And a story like Petit's deserves to be nothing but the truth. Petit is famous for walking along a wire attached between the the two twin towers in NYC and the notorious act has simply gained acclaim ever since. It's considered to be one of the greatest artistic crimes of 20th century, and after seeing the film, we see why. The actual walking on the wire wasn't the hard part. Getting the wire up was the real challenge, and the movie, directed by James Marsh, does a grand job of depicting that difficulty. If you hear the basic story of Petit's adventure, you might think of him as a bit of a lunatic. But when you hear the story from Petit and his friends, you begin to understand it. At one point, Petit says that if he dies doing it, then what a great way to go! He'll get to leave this earth doing what he loves the best. Generally, we see a documentary and think about it, but rarely consider seeing it again. After 'Man On Wire' is over, you'll want to revisit it for sure. It's quite simply one of the top documentaries of the decade.