Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wire copy

Ray Pride at Movie City News has a great interview of James Marsh, the director of the year's best film, Man on Wire, the documentary about Philippe Petit's 1974 illegal wire walk between the two World Trade Center Towers. It's very detailed with a lot of great information. Here's a part that stands out for me. Petit and the people who helped him filmed a lot of their planning, preparation and practice. I loved the footage of the group horsing around in the fields, shooting bow and arrow, walking on the wire. Here's what Marsh had to say about it.

"I always felt when I saw that footage-the day I saw it, you can imagine I was jumping for joy-oh my god, look at this stuff. There's a lot of it, and quite a lot of it is totally boring! [laughs] But it's this sort of Truffaut mini-film. I always thought in the middle of the film it was great to have this sort of pastoral idyll. And that footage, it's great on one level, it shows you the mechanics of some of the plotting and the planning, but more importantly, it shows you the spirit of the whole thing. This sort of cavorting in the fields and this playfulness, the mischievousness, the youthful exuberance of all the characters… That was the best part of it for me, it sets a kind of tone and it's very beautiful. And also, the other thing is, they're all very good-looking people and that's not something you expect or have any right to presume. But they're all young and fit and lovely and it was a wonderful gift, that footage. Hopefully, in the middle of this film it creates this innocent, pastoral idyll. It suddenly snaps back into the suspense [then], a man's life is at stake here. This is serious business. "

I like the Truffaut mention because the first thing that came to mind was the opening credits of Jules and Jim, as well as the famous footrace across the bridge. There's something about that Man on Wire footage that you could not possibly hope to re-create in a fiction film. It captures something so elemental and lovely.

3 comments:

T. Holly said...

Marsh, Pride and Petit show us many angles and detail. I refer you those here too as a matter of lyricism:

http://illusionstreetcar.blogspot.com/2008/08/pauline-factor-68.html

Alexander Coleman said...

You're right, KB, is just about unimaginable how a fictional feature could recapture what Man on Wire so wonderfully creates.

K. Bowen said...

they might be able to make a good film about the event. But there are things about this doc that they cannot possibly re-create.