Thursday, August 16, 2007
THE BRIDGE is a documentary about the Golden Gate Bridge as a magnet for suicides and holds the not so dubious distinction as the most popular place for those who choose to leave this life by jumping from The Bridge. I don't know why and the documentary didn't try to answer why rather simply recording what happened.
I wonder if it has anything to do with the unadulterated beauty of The Bridge. I cross it sometimes two and three times a day. When I first came to San Francisco, I promised myself that if ever I was not awed by the beauty of that fabulous structure and all that surrounds it, I was leaving the area. I am still here 20 years plus later and have never ceased to be amazed at the Golden Gate.
After seeing, The Bridge, I wondered as I have about many documentarians, "What in the world motivated this guy?" A mystery! In fact, I remember distinctly when a tempest rose about the film which was done in 2004. As I remember, the bureaucrats that run the bridge complained that they were tricked and didn't know that director Eric Steel's cameras were zeroed in on these tormented souls attempting to commit suicide.
I've always had somewhat of an open view about suicide by influenced by a mentor, Albert Ellis, who recently died. In one of our classes Al said something like, "Objectively, a person owns his/her life and can do what they want with it--even suicide if they so choose. "
Through poignant interviews with family, friends and eyewitnesses, the film reveals a common thread which most of us know: depression, despair, and mental illness. When you're watching those who die, your adrenaline picks up and you think, "Wow, I'm watching the process of life and death." I was often in a state of WOW. See this documentary. 2 Parachutes.