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The Film List Project #25: Man on Wire

Today is a milestone for this blog. Not only is it the 25th post in The Film List Project and the 60th post on this site, but it's also my first post about a documentary.

It's not uncommon to hear people say that documentaries are boring. That's fair. There are some documentaries that are really, really dull. However, people who think that documentary films are synonymous with boring have really seen the wrong docs.

To me, documentaries are one of the coolest forms storytelling. They allow you to see into someone's actual life on a really intimate level. Documentary subjects are doing inspiring, extraordinary things just like people in narrative films, but you get to experience these very real events with them.

Docs have a unique vulnerability and intimacy to their storytelling that you can't find anywhere else. Because I watched The Punk Singer, I feel like I understand Kathleen Hanna's career and impact. Watching The Last Waltz gave me a unique perspective on The Band and their "last concert".

I got the same feeling of intimate understanding after I watched Man on Wire. Now, I feel like I understand the dream Philippe Petit had to walk a wire across the Twin Towers. Crazy, right? What's even crazier is that he did it. On 7 August, 1974 (20 years to the day before my birth), Philippe Petit and a crew set up a wire across the top of the World Trade Center and hung out there. ISN'T THAT SO COOL??

This story isn't just about a guy who did something extraordinary, though. This is about a guy who worked hard for many years to achieve his dream and is grateful for everything he accomplished. Petit is an inspiration. He recognizes that nothing would have come to him without luck, vision, and hard work, which is something I've always admired in people.

A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Freedom Tower and the memorials dedicated to 9/11. Our guide only mentioned Petit in passing, but I'm so glad he did. Without that, I probably wouldn't have been inclined to watch the film. It's hard to remember good things happened before 9/11, but they did, and Petit was a part of it. I really think his legacy will be one of fearlessness, positivity, and perseverance, which is really something we need to remember when we think about that place.

I can't wait to watch more docs like this one, and I hope you'll give them a chance, too.

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