Sunshine Superman

Carl Boenish became the best-known advocate of BASE jumping—parachuting off cliffs, buildings, bridge spans, and antenna towers—before he became its best-known fatality, accidentally smashing into a rock wall as he dove off a mountain on the Norwegian coast in July 1984. For this documentary profile, director Marah Strauch presents numerous clips from the hair-raising films Boenish produced, which show him and his compatriots (including his wife, Jean) leaping from cliffs and poorly guarded skyscrapers. As in James Marsh’s Man on Wire, the real-life stunts are eminently suspenseful and exhilarating, and adrenaline junkies will be well pleased. For the uninitiated, however, Strauch’s adoring treatment of the Boenishes may be a little hard to stomach—especially at the conclusion, when Carl’s foolhardy death (the jump in question was perilous even by his standards) must be celebrated as a triumph of the human spirit.