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Saturday, 5 January 2008

Michael Sporn "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers"









Michael Sporn's The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is based on the original book by Mordicai Gerstein telling the story of Frenchman Philippe Petit walking a tightrope between the still unfinished New York’s Twin Towers in 1974. Self-evidently given the tragedy that befell the World Trade Center in 2001 the story has an added poignancy now. Michael was himself born in New York City in 1946. Quite wonderfully read by Jake Gyllenhall, who manages to convey both the drama and emotion of the feat, the quality of the illustrations (and perhaps the height) are what takes the breath away. The artwork is that good - which is apt because Micheal's animation is often a case of zooming or panning into or away from the illustrations. However the experience and skills of Michael, Matthew Clinton and Tissa David add the detailed, moving images that do make a difference (seagulls, tiny figures moving against the skyline, a rope being hauled in by hand.) Gerstein's text has all the rhythm and conviction of powerful anecdote and, together with Gyllenhall's voice, we certainly listen: "A quarter of a mile up in the sky someone was dancing" or, as the police await and Philippe takes a rest on his cable: "... as long as he stayed on the wire he was free." Add stirring music by Michael Bacon and you have a terrific production. I will be posting again on the subject of Michael's work and perhaps mentioning Sesame Street. Hear and see the original book by Gerstein here or visit the director's website. The DVD is available at a remarkably low price through Amazon. The link above is to Google Video whose versions are taken down quickly, often of dubious quality (or legality I guess). So the DVD's a good bet. And I do apologise for yesterday's comment about this being an Oscar winner; as befits one who worked for several years under the great John Hubley, Michael has been twice nominated for an Academy Award and certainly deserves the ultimate accolade!

1 comment:

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