Friday, June 13, 2008

The Bridge.

We watched this documentary last night. It's deeply disturbing and yet, beautiful. The director, Eric Steel, has done something remarkable here, showing us how people get to a point where jumping off the Golden Gate is a relief from the prison that their lives have become.

Cut with interviews of family and friends and beautiful shots of the Golden Gate and San Francisco bay, are shots of people jumping. Watching someone climb over the rail and over the edge is a shock I can't shake, nor do I want to.

The film, when it was released, caught a lot of flack from critics who saw this as a glorification of suicide or the exploitation of tragedy, but I didn't see it that way. To me, this is a closer look at the victims of mental illness, including the families, and the desperation that drives them to take that last long step into darkness.

This movie will stick with me. I highly recommend it, but be warned, it's tough to watch.


John McFetridge said...

Yes, it's not really what you expect, but very worthwhile viewing (if you're at all open-minded). In fact, the whole issue is rarely discussed with any depth.

We had a huge debate in Toronto about putting up a suicide barrier on our only bridge before it finally (thankfully) went up. The most common sentiment was, "If people are going to kill themselves, they'll just find another way." Turns out the evidence shows that to be false the vast majority of the time.

Here's an article:

Graham Powell said...

I heard the same thing about the barrier on the Golden Gate bridge. It wouldn't be hard to put up a six foot fence, but apparently the city doesn't want to spoil the aesthetics.