‘Man on Wire’ wraps up Beaver Creek film series | VailDaily.com

‘Man on Wire’ wraps up Beaver Creek film series

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Jean-Louis Blondeau/Polaris Images

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” The Vail Symposium concludes the Beaver Creek Documentary Film Series with a presentation of the 2009 Academy Award-winning film “Man on Wire” Wednesday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. Walter Chaw, senior film critic at http://www.filmfreakcentral.net will lead a discussion at the end of the film.

Philippe Petit, who had already conquered the spires of Notre Dame and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, saw plans for the building of the World Trade Towers in a magazine while waiting at his dentist’s office in Paris in 1968. The ambition to walk between the towers became what he has described as an obsession.

On Aug. 7, 1974, the 24-year-old Frenchman stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between New York’s twin towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, 1,350 feet above the sidewalks, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and finally released. The towers were still under construction when he performed his feat which took six and a half years of dreaming and eight months in New York scheming and smuggling.

James Marsh’s suspenseful film comes to life through the testimony of Petit and his co-conspirators in what became known as “the artistic crime of the century.” It has won 25 international film awards including the Oscar.

“This film certainly captures the spirit of adventure ” a way of life that our community is no stranger to,” Vail Symposium Executive Director Carrie Marsh said.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Chaw said “Man on Wire” is interesting because as upbeat as the topic is, the backdrop of the World Trade Center brings a sense of melancholy and nostalgia.

“The film demonstrates what’s going on in our culture now, and how we have been affected since 9/11. It’s a rare contemporary film that’s not depressing or nihilistic. Petit’s obsession is emblematic of how America is still a source of inspiration for the rest of the world. It was a collective dream of raising the towers, and for this Frenchman to walk across them. It’s very poetic and thought-provoking.”

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