Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fire, High Wire

First Fire of the Season

Sunflower Seeds

Peppers, Persimmon

I look forward to all the "Year's Best" lists that come around each December. Mid-November seems a little early to start in on that, but today's New York Times Magazine in "The Screens Issue," featured 12 writers, directors, and bloggers, each commenting on the most memorable visual moment of the year (clip, scene, show, movie, computer graphic, etc.). Ann Patchett chose Man on Wire, the superb documentary about Philippe Petit, who evaded authorities to string a cable between the twin towers and walk between them one memorable morning in 1974, shortly after they were completed. Having seen the film recently and marvelled at its quality--not to mention Petit's stunning, audacious high wire act itself--I would agree with Patchett's choice. She writes,

His art was exhilaration, fearlessness, a wild grab at life. The wire he and his friends strung at night between the two towers formed the intersection of recklessness and precision. And those buildings, those silent supporting actors, you can’t help marveling at how young they are. In August 1974, when Petit took his morning stroll, they were still raw on their upper floors, not completely finished. I would wish for those buildings that they could someday be remembered for how they began — with the felonious act of a young man who was madly in love with them, their height, their audacity, their doubled beauty — instead of how they ended. “Man on Wire” gives those towers back to us, at least for a little while. It also reminds us of all that art is capable of when what is risked is everything.

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