I have never heard of Phillipe Petit until last night when we watched Man On Wire, a documentary about his life.
He became famous when he sneaked into World Trade Center in NYC and walked on a tight rope between the two towers in 1974. The film documented Petit and his friends plotting this stunt which took 6 years of planning. It involved multiple trips to the WTC to observe guards, pure chance meetings with a fan who worked in WTC and provided Petit with his pass to replicate and rigs to practise walking during high winds and many many more.
I must admit, the whole film was produced with an elegance that is quintessentially french. As the story unfolds, so many times during the movie you were sure they will fail. Like they could not figure out how to string the cable across the towers and ran through so many different options until they came to using bow and arrow. Also when they got to 104th floor and there was a guard so they had to hide under some random canvas for 3 hours without moving.
Totally awe-inspiring and srangely tragic too because towards the end, his best friend broke down when they asked there were more stunts to come, only stopping to affirm that there will never be anymore stunts. His girlfriend revealed that Petit was no longer the same person after that and the fame may have eaten him up.
Man On Wire. I recommend it.