Man on Wire directed by James Marsh
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Important background 2
Man on Wire is the story of French tightrope walker Philippe Petit who, on August 7, 1974, walked across a wire strung between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center.
The night before, he’d broken into one of the buildings, and with friends and accomplices, rigged a wire from tower to tower.
Only 24 years old, Petit crossed eight times back and forth, 1,350 feet above the ground. He danced, kneeled, and even laid down on the wire, performing for nearly an hour as people watched and the police waited. The act enchanted all witnesses, who called it the “artistic crime of the century.”
Philippe Petit was born on August 13, 1949 in Nemours, France, to a French Army pilot and his wife. Petit started studying magic tricks at the age of 6. Some years later, he learned how to juggle. He took his talents to the city streets, performing for tourists.
At the age of 16, Petit discovered his passion for the high wire and spent a year training on the tightrope. He incorporated this interest into his public performances. He did not fare well in the academic world, however, having been kicked out of five schools by the age of 18.
After the walk
Petit was arrested for his efforts, and was ordered to give a performance in Central Park as his sentence.
With his World Trade Center walk, Petit helped people warm up to the then-maligned building development. Though the site's famous twin towers fell during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Petit said he was pleased about the recent construction of new towers at the World Trade Center.
Following his most famous act, Petit accomplished other fantastical feats in the United States and Europe. He also wrote six books, including 1985's On the High Wi...