High-Wire Act for a Film Festival

The image of the French daredevil Philippe Petit, dancing across a high wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in James Marsh’s exhilarating documentary “Man on Wire,” is as rich a metaphor for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival as you could imagine.

On Aug. 7, 1974, Mr. Petit, then 24, tiptoed onto a cable suspended 1,350 feet above the ground and crossed it eight times in 45 minutes before the police forced him down. Peter Scarlet, the Tribeca festival’s artistic director, describes Mr. Petit’s feat as epitomizing the festival’s precarious “balancing of art and commerce.”

In this year’s festival, which begins on Wednesday and runs through May 4 at theaters around New York, that balance has tilted more toward art, although there are still plenty of bells and whistles. It demonstrates that the festival is finally settling into its own identity and establishing itself as a major international showcase.

(New York Times)


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