SFiFF Update Three: The Bridge

The Bridge

It turned out that the SFiFF is mostly about docs for me. The Bridge is one that I had really been looking forward to ever since the it became public what the camera crews stationed on either end of the Golden Gate Bridge were up to over the course of 2004. Director Eric Steele takes on the story of those whose final destination is the world’s most favorite suicide location.

The result is an incredibly moving set of very personal accounts of suicidal bridge jumpers as told by family, friends and in one case a survivor. Yes, there is some very shaky and very real footage of a few jumps. They serve to punctuate the personal narratives and quite honestly, the film would be just as moving without them. The real story is what we hear from family, friends and survivors. The footage of jumps are shown once each, there is no slow motion or any cinematic effects that over-dramatize the reality we witness. We do see the Coast Guard boat with two white hazmat suited rescuers circling around for a jumper.

The documentary to be quite honest, is a bit of a downer. It’s a retelling of the sad states of emotion that led the jumpers to take the plunge. We learn about the lives of the jumpers, in some cases their incessant casing of the bridge prior to their final moment, the back story of what brings them to the brink. We do see one rescue as a passing tourist pulls a would-be jumper by her collar which elicits applause from the audience.

There is more, but I don’t want to spoil so go see it for yourself. The Bridge is a rare look into the lives of people who find no reason to go on. Prepare yourself as you’ll probably experience a wide range of emotions that will leave you drained. It is a necessary film, one that can only help to understand mental illness and the dark realities behind suicide.

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  • Simon

    A sad tale.

    Trivia at this point might be a bit dark, but here goes:

    The Golden Gate Bridge it is the world’s #1 jumping spot.

    Roy Raymond, the founder of Victoria’s Secret, went over in 1993.

    The average is one person every two weeks.

    After the 4 seconds it takes to fall 250 feet, the impact is at 75mph.

    1200 have been known to have jumped.

    26 have survived.

    Multiple blunt force injuries take most people. Most others drown due to the depth to which they plunge. The 55 degree water combined with failure to reach land gets all but the remaining survivors, most of whom are picked up by the Coast Guard.

    Eyeballs are a favorite for the local crabs (Sorry about that – it just seemed like something other that your run of the mill statistic).

    The first known jumper was Harold Wobber in 1947, 3 months after it opened.

    A study conducted on 515 people who were prevented from jumping between 1937 and 1971 found that 94% were either still alive or had died from natural causes.

    One note left behind sums up the fragile state that many people live in:

    “I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’”

  • Simon

    A sad tale.

    Trivia at this point might be a bit dark, but here goes:

    The Golden Gate Bridge it is the world’s #1 jumping spot.

    Roy Raymond, the founder of Victoria’s Secret, went over in 1993.

    The average is one person every two weeks.

    After the 4 seconds it takes to fall 250 feet, the impact is at 75mph.

    1200 have been known to have jumped.

    26 have survived.

    Multiple blunt force injuries take most people. Most others drown due to the depth to which they plunge. The 55 degree water combined with failure to reach land gets all but the remaining survivors, most of whom are picked up by the Coast Guard.

    Eyeballs are a favorite for the local crabs (Sorry about that – it just seemed like something other that your run of the mill statistic).

    The first known jumper was Harold Wobber in 1947, 3 months after it opened.

    A study conducted on 515 people who were prevented from jumping between 1937 and 1971 found that 94% were either still alive or had died from natural causes.

    One note left behind sums up the fragile state that many people live in:

    “I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’”

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