Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Man On Wire

90% of Man On Wire was recreated with actors and sets. They’re not meant to be the real thing but rather represent the real thing and yet the documentary plays like a thriller. The first twenty minutes are cut and narrated as if a conspiracy of murder is about to take place. However it is soon revealed that the event in question is really just an elaborate prank not meant to hurt or embarrass but to awe and inspire.

Petit Phillippe is a high wire walker who believes that in 1974, the world trade center towers were being created for him to walk between. He watches as they are constructed and eagerly awaits his chance to fulfill his dream. It’s interesting to see how, for Petit, the world revolves around him but not in an egotistical way. It’s obvious that Petit does his high wire acts for other people to enjoy but he also sees the world as a sort of playground for him to do what he wants.

I saw this film at Sundance in 08 and it’s no wonder why it won the audience choice award. Phillippe tells much of his own story in a close up interview and he tells it as if he still has not come down off the high of it (pun intended). A Documentary's success is heavily based the director's vision or the editor's skills. Man On Wire is somewhat cinematic but I think it's Petit's storytelling that makes it great.

The film challenges you to be original, daring, and enjoy life. To most of us, Petit’s hobby is silly and ridiculous but to him it is serious and by the end of this film, he will convince you that nothing is silly and ridiculous.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Son

I was reminded of this film by Drew's post about Baghead. I haven't seen baghead, and the duplass brothers seem like they would annoy me. But maybe not. Anyway, this is definitely a film worth checking out. It's an unconventional mystery/revenge thriller. Shot like a documentary, handheld, with only a 50mm lens (i.e. no telephoto or wide angle shots), and with no coverage. The only editing is between scenes or locations or gaps in time. Something about the way this is done, and how our view is limited is so intense and unpredictable. I would love to try making a film like this. But you'd have to have some seriously good actors to pull it off.