Man on Wire

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Man On Wire

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Marsh
Produced by Simon Chinn - Wall to Wall
Starring Philippe Petit
Music by Josh Ralph (title theme)
Michael Nyman
Cinematography Igor Martinovic
Editing by Jinx Godfrey
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures (US) Icon (UK) Madman (Australia) Diaphana (France)
Release date(s) Sundance Film Festival:
January 22, 2008
United States:
July 15, 2008
October 16, 2008[1]
Running time 90 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English, French

Man on Wire is a 2008 documentary film directed by James Marsh. The film chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center and is based on Philippe Petit's book, To Reach the Clouds, which has recently been released in paperback with the new title Man on Wire. The film is crafted like a heist film, presenting rare footage of the preparations for the event and still photographs of the walk, alongside reenactments (with Paul McGill as the young Petit) and modern-day interviews with the participants.

It competed in the World Cinema Documentary Competition[2] at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary and the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary.[3] In February 2009, the film won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Award for Best Documentary.


[edit] Production

The film's producer, Simon Chinn, first encountered Philippe Petit in April 1995 on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs when he decided to pursue him for the film rights to his book, To Reach the Clouds. After months of discussion, Petit agreed with the conditions that he would play an active, collaborative part in the making of the film.

In an interview conducted during Man on Wire's run at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, director James Marsh explained that he was drawn to the story in part because it immediately struck him as "a heist movie". Marsh also commented that as a New Yorker himself, he saw the film as something to give back to the city. He said he hopes to hear people say that they will now always think of Petit and his performance when recalling the World Trade Center's twin towers.[4]

Responding to questioning as to why the towers' destruction 27 years later was not mentioned in the film, Marsh explained that Philippe Petit's act was "incredibly beautiful" and that it "would be unfair and wrong to infect his story with any mention, discussion or imagery of the Towers being destroyed."[5]

[edit] Reception

Man on Wire has won the prestigious Special Jury Award and Audience Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival[6], the International Audience Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Standard Life Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival[7]. The film has also won the Jury Prize and Audience Award in the World Cinema: Documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Man on Wire is the sixth film to pick up both top awards at Sundance, and the first from outside the US.[8] In February 2009, the film won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film.[9] It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 81st annual Oscars.[10]

Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100% of the 137 reviews they have collected have been positive, making it "The Best of All Time" reviewed film on their site, and gave it a golden tomato for best documentary of 2008.[11]

[edit] Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.[12] Movie City News shows that the film appeared in 76 different top ten lists, out of 286 different critics lists surveyed, the joint 7th most mentions on a top ten list of the films released in 2008.[13]

[edit] Soundtrack

Much of the film's soundtrack is derived from the 2006 album, The Composer's Cut Series Vol. II: Nyman/Greenaway Revisited.

  1. Fish Beach - Michael Nyman (from Drowning by Numbers)
  2. History Of The Insipid - Michael Nyman (from The Libertine)
  3. Albatross - Fleetwood Mac
  4. Dreams Of A Journey - Michael Nyman (from The Piano)
  5. Time Lapse - Michael Nyman (from A Zed & Two Noughts)
  6. The Disposition Of Linen - Michael Nyman (from The Draughtsman's Contract)
  7. A Fifth of Beethoven - Walter Murphy
  8. Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds - Michael Nyman (from The Draughtsman's Contract)
  9. An Eye For Optical Theory - Michael Nyman (from The Draughtsman's Contract)
  10. The Lark Ascending - English Northern Philharmonia (composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams)
  11. A Ramble In St. James's Park - Michael Nyman (from The Libertine)
  12. Passage de L'Egalité - Michael Nyman (from La Traversée de Paris)
  13. In The Hall Of The Mountain King - Philadelphia Orchestra (composed by Edvard Grieg)
  14. Drowning By Number 2 - Michael Nyman (from Drowning by Numbers)
  15. Trysting Fields/Sheep 'n' Tides - Michael Nyman (from Drowning by Numbers)
  16. Memorial - Michael Nyman
  17. Leaving Home (Opening Titles) - Josh Ralph
  18. Leaving Home Sunday Exploration (End Credits) - Josh Ralph
  19. Gnossienne No. 1 - Gheorghe Constantinescu (composed by Erik Satie)
  20. Gymnopédie No.1 - Anne Queffélec (composed by Erik Satie)

[edit] References

  1. ^ Man on Wire Australian release date
  2. ^ "2008 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in Competition" (PDF). 2007-11-28. Retrieved on 2008-01-07. 
  3. ^ "2008 Sundance Film Festival Announces Awards" (PDF). 2008-01-26. 
  4. ^ Jerney Makoa (July 24, 2008). "On The Circuit: Man on Wire | Zoom In - News, Events, Training and Community for Creatives". Retrieved on 2008-07-25. 
  5. ^ Neil Smith (August 2, 2008). "BBC NEWS: Wire walk film omits 9/11 tragedy". Retrieved on 2008-08-03. 
  6. ^ "Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Announces Festival Award Winners ",
  7. ^ "Man on Wire Wins Again ",
  8. ^ "Wall to Wall Takes Two at Sundance Film Festival"
  9. ^ "Film Winners in 2009". BAFTA.,657,BA.html. Retrieved on 8 February, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Nominees for the 81st Academy Awards". Retrieved on 12 February, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Man on Wire at Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved on 16 August 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Metacritic: 2008 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved on January 11, 2009. 
  13. ^ David Poland (2008). "The 2008 Movie City News Top Ten Awards". Retrieved on 2009-01-25. 

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Vores lykkes fjender (Enemies of Happiness)
Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary
Succeeded by
Preceded by
In the Shadow of the Moon
World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Taxi to the Dark Side
Academy Award for Documentary Feature
Succeeded by
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