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and Carl Boneish....one huge leap for thrillseekers

Jean and Carl Boenish….one huge leap for thrill seekers

“SUNSHINE SUPERMAN”  My rating: B (Opens June 5 at the Tivoli)

100 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Perhaps Carl Boenish had a premonition that he would die young.

Not that he was a gloomy sort. A legendary thrill-seeker and pioneer of the sport of BASE jumping — in which parachutists launch themselves off cliffs, bridges, skyscrapers and even towering antennas — Boenish was almost childlike in his enthusiasm for risk-taking.

But in addition to planning and executing daredevil stunts (which frequently ran afoul of the law and required elaborate secret agent-ish preparations), Boenish scrupulously documented his daring activities on celluloid, devising helmet-mounted cameras that allowed him to record sky dives and hair-raising plummets off rooftops.  It’s safe to say that without Boenish’s pulse-quickening footage,  “Sunshine Superman” would never have been made.

Director Marah Strauch makes extensive use of Boenish’s films (they’re way too slick to be called “home movies”), and these astounding images are the main selling point of this documentary about the fraternity of jumpers and the man whose devotion turned a dangerous hobby into a worldwide phenomenon.

Boenish was trained as an engineer but found in the early 1970s that he could parlay his love of sky diving into a gig as an aerial cinematographer, contributing action footage to Hollywood productions like “The Gypsy Moths.” He began creating his own spectacular short films, sometimes devoting two years to making a 15-minute production.

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