Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Bridge

In this 2006 documentary, director Eric Steel filmed the Golden Gate Bridge for an entire year. Why? Because the Golden Gate Bridge has the highest suicide rate of any location on Earth. During 2004, when they were filming this, 24 people lept to their deaths from the bridge- most of them captured on film. The movie is a documentary in its truest sense. It isn't an expose, and doesn't have an agenda, it simply explores these cases about who these people are, and why they do this.

When I was first watching this, I was appalled that these film makers could sit idly by and watch people do this. Before condemning them, however, I did a little research, and discovered that whenever there was someone looking suspicious they called the bridge patrol, and ended up saving at least six people. That made me feel a little more at ease watching this movie. Steel focuses on the stories of a few of the people whom he captured jumping off the bridge- including interviews with friends and family, as well as people who were there witnessing it.

In one incredibly rare case, he was able to interview one man who jumped, but survived. It was one of the only cases where he could get a before and after perspective. In another extremely powerful case, there was a photographer standing right by a woman as she was about to jump. He explains how he was so caught up in taking pictures that it didn't even occur to try to rescue her. He managed to snap out of that, and before she jumped, he grabbed her and pulled her back over the railing. This was powerful because it was captured through his photos as she was preparing to jump, and on film as she was pulled back. The same woman was caught several times that year trying to jump, being stopped every time.

This is a difficult movie to watch- already covering a fairly taboo topic, and supporting it with actual suicide footage. I'm not sure about the motivation behind making this movie- it doesn't seem to have exposed, or helping anything. It just appears to be a study as to what is happening. Intercut with the interviews are long, drawn out shots of the bridge. Honestly, I don't know what whole point of the movie is, but it was very emotional none-the-less. In the end, I think this would have worked better as a short subject, than a feature length movie.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Suicide is an impetuous act – or the act of an ill person lacking the capacity to make a sane decision. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Limiting access to the means of death has proven to dramatically reduce suicides.
98% of those stopped never attempt suicide again.

The rails at the Golden Gate Bridge are simply too low and access is too great. The rails of the bridge need to be raised.

Four people try to die there every week and one succeeds.

The true victims are the loved ones left behind many of which carry terrible emotional scars the rest of their lives...

San Franciscans and the people of the Bay Area can no longer hide their collective heads in the sand - we are now well aware of the horror taking place and as such have a moral obligation to do something to end the deaths at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Please help raise the rails - and end the tragic deaths