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Film screening: "Man on Wire"

  • Dates: September 27, 2019
  • Time: 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Price: Free
  • Overview

    (United States, 2008, 94 minutes, color)

    Shown in association with Philippe Petit’s "Creative Life Series" event at UAlbany on Thursday, October 3. See separate listing.

    This Oscar-winning film, sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute's Classic Film Series, examines what is often called “the artistic crime of the century.”

    On August 7th 1974, a Young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between New York's Twin Towers (World Trade Center), then the world's tallest buildings. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, then brought to jail and finally released.

    Following six and a half years of dreaming, Petit spent eight months in NYC planning the execution of the coup. Aided by a team of friends and accomplices, Petit had to find a way to bypass the WTC's security; to smuggle the heavy steel cable and rigging equipment into the towers; to pass the wire between the two rooftops; to anchor the wire and tension it to withstand the winds and the swaying of the buildings. The rigging was done under cover of night in complete secrecy.

    At 7:15 AM, Philippe took his first step an the high wire 1,350 feet above the sidewalks of Manhattan...

    James Marsh's documentary brings Petit's extraordinary adventure to life through the testimony of Philippe himself and some of the co-conspirators who helped him create the unique and magnificent spectacle that became known as "the artistic crime of the century."

    The NYS Writers Institute’s Classic Film Series, presented with support from Marc Guggenheim, UAlbany Class of ‘92, features screenings of domestic and international films of distinction and film festivals devoted to the work of particular directors, producers, or screenwriters.


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