Monday, August 24, 2009

Pour marcher sur un nuage

"Man on Wire" won this year's Oscar for best documentary film and I've only just gotten around to watching it.

It's the story of a French tightrope-dancer (not a mere walker) who limbered up on a wire over Notre Dame de Paris and the Sydney Harbour Bridge before taking on the newly-built New York Twin Towers in 1973.

It's a pretty cool stunt but the real story is the way his monomania sucked in a circle of friends to make this impossible dream happen. I won't spoil the plot, but there have been wars fought with less preparation and planning than went into this caper.

A highlight for me was the way he described the first step onto the wire - the moment when he shifted his weight from one foot anchored on a building to one on a swinging, dipping, twisting wire over a quarter mile column of air.

Why would anyone do that ?

Like Louis Armstrong said :

"If you have to ask, you'll never know."

Or as he put it :

"I did something magnificent and mysterious, and I got a 'why?' - and the beauty of it is that I don't have a 'why.'"

The very best Art forces you to change your ideas about what is possible, and by that standard this is great art indeed. A man walking on clouds certainly doesn't need a "Why?".

Speaking of great art, the soundtrack is amazing - Michael Nyman's greatest minimalist hits, including the jaw-droppingly awesome "Memorial". Also his equivalent from the century before - Satie's Gymnopédie and Gnossienne. And Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross" and "A Fifth of Beethoven" as a nod to the era of the stunt and just for laughs.

1 comment:

Louise said...

Yes, it's awesome! I loved it.