The Bridge • 1h 34m
Dir. Eric Steel - 94min - 2006 - USA
**Warning - this film contains real images of suicide**
More people choose to end their lives at the Golden Gate Bridge than anywhere else in the world. The sheer number of deaths there is shocking but perhaps not altogether surprising. If one wants to commit suicide, that is, there is an eerie logic in selecting a means that is almost always fatal and a place that is magically, mysteriously beautiful.
The director and crew spent all of 2004, an entire year, looking very carefully at the Golden Gate Bridge, running cameras for almost every daylight minute, and filming most of the two dozen suicides and a great many of the unrealised attempts. In addition, the director captured nearly 100 hours of incredibly frank, deeply personal, often heart-wrenching interviews with the families and friends of these suicides, with witnesses who were walking, biking, or driving across the bridge, or surfing, kiteboarding, or boating underneath it, and with several of the attempters themselves.
The Bridge offers glimpses into the darkest, and possibly most impenetrable corners of the human mind. The fates of these 24 people are linked together at the bridge and by a 4 second fall, but their lives seem to have been moving on parallel tracks and similar arcs all along.
Looming behind these stories is the Golden Gate Bridge itself, a monument that mirrors our highest aspirations and our lowest natures. We are uncomfortable with the grim realities suicide forces us to confront. We’d rather not see the mentally ill; we’d prefer suicides to be invisible -- or at least to take place quietly in hotel bathrooms, barns, dorm rooms and closets.
The Bridge is at once a startlingly profound and poetic documentary, a visual and visceral journey into one of life’s gravest taboos.