Man on Wire (2008)
Classy, delicate and impressive documentary dealing with French funambulist Phillipe Petit's career in general and his famed walk between the two World Trade Centre towers in 1974 in particular. Petit's extrovert and eccentric persona is the perfectly busy hub for a film whose drawn out and contracted narrative could have been a potential pitfall. The way this is handled by documentarian James Marsh, however, is pure skill, as he constructs his film partly as a suspense story and uses Petit to great effect as the performer (in more sense than one). There is also great value in the original footage from the 1970s; professionally filmed, and with a distinct artistic quality which make the people involved probably more interesting than they were. With that said, few things are more charming than overly ambitious, intellectually stimulated bohemians of the 1970s, and the emotional charge shown in some crucial interview segments towards the end (notably with Jean-Louis Blondeau) shows both the bond these people shared and the sadness of a bygone and irrevocable youth - a period when trivialities like economy and consequences seem like distant, academic concepts, and when one feels one can accomplish the impossible. Something the dreamer Phillipe Petit actually did.