August 4, 2008

The crazy 'crime' of 1974

On a day when the world remembers some other adventurers, who unfortunately lost their life on K2 this week, read about Phillipe Petit, another maverick, whose exploit took the world by storm one gray morning in New York 34 years back.
‘O death in life,’ wrote Tennyson, ‘the days that are no more.’ James Marsh’s feature documentary Man on Wire, which revisits Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers is, among other things, a joyous ode to living and a lament for the days that are no more. It makes no explicit mention of the events of 11 September 2001, but death hovers on the fringes, like distant dark clouds threatening the clear blue sky, and our knowledge of what later befell the Towers coats the innocent lunacy of Petit’s actions with poignancy.
Also two recent articles from The NYTimes and The Guardian about his dare-devil act.

I had missed this brilliant New Yorker magazine cover couple years ago on the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Interestingly, the movie, which won the Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary and the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary at the 2007 Sundance festival, does not overtly refer to the 9-11 tragedy.

Wikipedia has this rather interesting nugget of information:
Petit's high-wire walk is credited with bringing the then rather unpopular Twin Towers much needed popular attention and affection. Up to that point, many had regarded them as ugly and utilitarian, and the not-yet completed buildings were having trouble renting their office space.
Here's Petit remembering and talking about the act in an interview this year along with the director of the movie.

Apparently, he had left a mark of his bravery - now, along with many lives and a lot else, it is gone.

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