"Man on Wire" - won the best documentary feature academy award at the 2008 Oscar !
what can I say? I saw this movie and simply hated it.
It's a well known fact, I guess, that the winners in the Oscar are not necessarily the best movies, sometime they are pretty lousy ones. But this one is really disturbing and not in a good way. When you come to see this movie you hope to be inspired by this amazing subject of a man that really walked on wire, between huge tall buildings, crossing the sky as if it were a comfy pavement. It seem like this subject is sure win subject for a movie. How come it's not?
Unfortunately, this movie wanted to be an action movie too. Over-dramatically photographed, with fancy black and white, "Man on Wire" ridiculously reenacts the way in which Philippe Petit got on these roofs (that even the most freaky birds avoid) to attempt his thing.
The Sky - a Birdy Hobby
I think that the soft belly of this movie is the "star," Petit. You'd think that somebody who spent such a quality time up there must have a few insights. But this person is so full with himself in the worst way, and what he has to say is so boring and so uninspiring.....
In short, if there is one more thing that you can show Americans that will make them admire but less like French people it is this movie. Just my opinion as a non American and a non French person. But hey, they wouldn't have given it a prize if they hadn't liked it so much ....I got it! It must be because of the end of the movie where it showed how Petit fell in love with the materialistic side of the U.S. and how he left behind all his French Friends that helped him all the way with his birdy hobby (all those who carried wires and stole roof doors for him for many years and in many countries and are now not allowed to enter the US).
At about the same week I watched "man on wire" I also saw "Encounters at the End of the World" - by the German director Werner Herzog, which was also nominated for the 2008 award but did not win (of course). It is a film about the South Pole but, as Herzog narrates at the very begining, it is not about penguins.
It's a brilliant movie with a smart, interesting and unique point of view. Showing the surreal life of people that "serve science" (probably more accurate would be to say - "serve the stronger nations") at the south pole. "Encounters" describes the "frozen" action there in a way you could never think of.
Herzog narrates all along the movie and the interviews he did with people there are so so smart, deep, ironic and inspiring. It's a fascinating movie!
If there is one more thing that you can show Jewish people (like me) that will make them appreciate and like a bit more German people it is this movie.