Documentary Film Night: Man on Wire
Academy Award 2009 (Oscar), Best Documentary

In partnership with Thailand's Documentary Club
1 hr, 34 min

7pm, Monday October 09, 2017
150 baht for non-members, Free for members.
On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit, a French wire walker, juggler, and street performer spent 45 minutes walking, dancing, kneeling, and lying on a wire he and friends strung between the rooftops of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York. The Academy Award-winning film uses contemporary interviews, archival footage, and recreations to tell the story of his previous walks between towers of Notre Dame and of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, his passions and friendships, and the details of the night before the walk: getting cable into the towers, hiding from guards, and mounting the wire. It ends with observations of the profound changes the walk's success brought to Philippe and those closest to him.


Man On Wire relates the true story of Philippe Petit's famous high-wire walk between the World Trade Center's twin towers on August 7th, 1974. His awe-inspiring feat turned him into a media sensation. Petit's adventure started at a young age, when he began studying magic tricks and performed on the city streets to entertain tourists. At sixteen, he discovered his passion for tightrope walking and trained in the art for a year. One day, while waiting in a dentist's office in Paris, Petit came across an article about the project plan for New York's World Trade Center twin towers along with a graphical illustration of the buildings. He suddenly knew that he had to conquer them. The film follows his story and explores his motivation and ambition to fulfil his dream of walking on a wire between the towers.

The first part of Man On Wire introduces the audience to the World Trade Center. Historical footage of the construction of the towers is shown, with workers, cranes and trucks working together to build the colossal structures. It looks like a puzzle - a really good one. The documentary is entirely related to Philippe Petit and has nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the attacks are not even mentioned in the movie. This was a good decision, since it had nothing to do with Petit's stunt.

Man On Wire contains exclusive footage from Petit's personal collection of videos and pictures. But the film is more than that. The director has also reconstructed parts of the story with actors. One of the fascinating things we learn is the great lengths Petit and his crew went through to ensure the stunt would go according to plan. He posed as a journalist to gain access to the roof during reconnaissance missions and convinced an insider to forge security passes. On the night before the walk, Petit and his partner were almost spotted by a security guard. They quickly hid underneath a tarpaulin on a beam perched above an elevator shaft with a 400m drop beneath them. They waited for hours, daring not to move nor breathe a word until the guard left. Man On Wire is full of suspense. The action goes back and forth when least expected and keeps the viewer captivated.

Trailer Preview



Academy Awards 2009 Oscar Winner, Best Documentary, Features

BAFTA Awards 2009 Winner, Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, and Nominee, Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer

Alliance of Women Film Journalists 2008 Winner, Best Documentary Feature Film

American Cinema Editors 2009 Winner, Best Edited Documentary

Cinema Eye Honors Awards 2009 Winner, Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking, Outstanding Achievement in Production and Outstanding Achievement in Editing; Nominee for Audience Choice Prize and Outstanding Achievement in Direction.

Directors Guild of America 2009 Nominee, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary

PGA Awards 2009 Winner, Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures

Sundance Film Festival 2008 Winner, World Cinema-Documentary in both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize categories.

Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
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