French In America

French News, American Stories

Man on Wire, Phillip Petit

with 2 comments

Many of you already know the story, but I can’t stop watching this movie! Phillip Petit is now an Oscar winner and his dream to come to America and walk across the the former World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on a wire is perhaps the greatest of all French in America stories. The dream, the commitment and the final outcome are unparalleled.

Philippe Petit (born August 13, 1949) is a French high wire artist who gained fame for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in New York City on August 7, 1974.[1] For his feat, he used a 450-pound cable and a custom-made 26-foot (7.9 m) long, 55-pound balancing pole.

Tight-rope walker, unicyclist, magician and pantomime artist, Petit was also one of the earliest modern day street jugglers in Paris, having begun his career in 1968. He juggled and worked on a slack rope with regularity in Washington Square Park in New York City in the early 1970s. Other famous structures he has used for tightrope walks include Notre Dame de Paris, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Louisiana Superdome, the Hennepin County Government Center, and between the Palais de Chaillot and the Eiffel Tower. The documentary film Man on Wire by UK director James Marsh, about Petit’s WTC performance won both the World Cinema Jury and Audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival 2008. The film also won awards at the 2008 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. and won the Academy Award for best documentary.

source: wikipedia

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Written by Jon Cronin

March 10, 2009 at 14:18

2 Responses

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  1. To see photographs from the film MAN ON WIRE visit the web sites of the two photographers who where Petit’s right-hand men during the preparation and the rigging of the walk.
    For the preparation photographs go to:
    http://moorepics.com / Jim Moore is a NY Based photographer who helped Petit during his time in NY preparing for the WTC walk.
    http://jlblondeau.com / Jean Louis Blondeau who was Petit’s friend since childhood and did the final rigging that made the cable ready for Petit’s WTC walk.

    Joe Smith

    March 12, 2009 at 02:36

  2. Deep in the throes of overcoming an addiction to methadone, cold turkey, I not being able to much else, watched this film. Something about it resonated. The fact that at some point, on the wire, the end was as close as the beginning, became a motivation. I speak of this in the past tense, though I am still recovering. I wonder, how did Phillip feel when he saw the towers come down?

    It must have been particularly shocking for him.

    But also now, with certainty, he is perhaps the only man who can say that he walked where no other man ever did, nor will again.

    Bill Oost

    August 2, 2011 at 10:36


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