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High-Wire Walker on the Dangers of Invincibility

The Walk is the 2015 motion picture, and true story, about high-wire artist Philippe Petit. In 1974 he fulfilled his dream of walking between the World Trade Center towers, but in an early scene from the film he's in a Big Top circus in France tying a rope to a beam. Philippe says, "So [my mentor] Papa Rudy let me travel with his troupe. Of course I never did any performance. But any time the big top was empty, I would practice on the wire."

In the next scene, Philippe is high up just under the tent's ceiling and balancing himself on a wire with a pole. Papa Rudy enters the tent and looks up at Philippe, who was walking carefully but confidently across the thin wire. He hesitates as he is about to reach the platform and then takes a more assertive forward step. But suddenly Philippe and his wire start shaking precariously. He falls to the side, grabbing on to the wire with both hands, barely avoiding falling to his death as the pole plummets to the ground.

As he hangs onto the wire with both hands, the ground a great distance below, he slowly works his way to the platform. Breathing heavily and making his way down the ladder he faces Papa Rudy who tells him, "Most wire walkers, they die when they arrive. They think they have arrived, but they're still on the wire. If you have three steps to do, and you take those steps arrogantly, if you think you are invincible, you're going to die."

Editor's Note: This scene starts at Chapter 5 at 25:29 and runs to 27:02.

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