' Cinema Romantico: CIFF Report: The Bridge

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CIFF Report: The Bridge

In 2004 Director Eric Steele placed several cameras around the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and filmed from sunrise to sunset for a whole year. During this time he and his crew captured 24 suicides on camera. This formed the basis for his goes-without-saying hard-to-watch and a bit disturbing documentary "The Bridge".

But this is not to say the film is any way exploitive. The film makes no judgements about anyone. It also chooses not to show any psychologists or psychiatrists explaining things away.

There are interviews of friends and family of several of those who jump. It's interesting to see how many of those that jumped talked openly of suicide. One of the friends' of a victim mentions "crying wolf" but there seems to be hardly any cry-wolf cases. The people they show are resigned to their fate for the most part. And many of the friends and family seem resigned as well. One woman tells her friend to put her phone # in a plastic bag in his pocket so that when he jumps "they" can call and then she'll know. Most heartbreaking are the two parents who are fully aware of what their son intends to do. They have come to grips with the fact they cannot stop him and that even if they try perhaps they are hurting him more.

The film also goes to show it's never quite the ones you would expect. People stand along the railing, gazing down at the water, crying, weeping, and then do nothing. Yet, one man talks on his cellphone, literally lets loose with a huge belly laugh only to ditch the phone a moment later, climb over to the ledge and let go. Yeah, a little disturbing. There's no insight given to this last one. No reasoning. You just see it.

You will leave "The Bridge" with more questions than answers. That seems about right considering the subject.

(Perhaps I will choose a bit lighter fare this evening.)

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