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.