lunes, julio 06, 2009

The bridge (El puente)

This film is about public suicides. They all take place on the world's most popular suicide destination, the Golden Gate Bridge. Every two weeks someone jumps off the Bridge. For 12 months filmmaker Eric Steel and crew kept a cinematic vigil and filmed the jumpers (when his radio calls to police could not rescue them). He then interviewed their surviving family and friends. The stories of the jumpers are sobering and dispiriting. Their departed selves share a common thread of depression, despair, and chronic mental illness. Although it shows sensational footage of their plunges, this is not a sensational film. Indeed it is depressing and immensely sad. There is nothing uplifting, heroic, or romantic about it, even when it succeeds in getting you into the mind-set of the jumpers. Regrettably the film does not explore why this Bridge out of all other bridges, why jumpers usually face the city rather than the ocean, why these suicides are so public and dramatic, and why the controversy around a proposed fence won't go away -- or any of another dozen frequent questions about suicides on this Bridge. Despite its title, this film is not about the Bridge. Rather it focuses solely on the lives and deaths of a handful of desperate people who jumped during the year of filming. It's a troublesome film, but memorable. You definitely need to be in the right state of mind to watch it.

-- Kevin Kelly

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