People suffer largely unnoticed while the rest of the world goes about its business. This is a documentary exploration of the mythic beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular ... See full summary »
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People suffer largely unnoticed while the rest of the world goes about its business. This is a documentary exploration of the mythic beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular suicide destination in the world, and those drawn by its call. Steel and his crew filmed the bridge during daylight hours from two separate locations for all of 2004, recording most of the two dozen deaths in that year (and preventing several others). They also taped interviews with friends, families and witnesses, who recount in sorrowful detail stories of struggles with depression, substance abuse and mental illness. Raises questions about suicide, mental illness and civic responsibility as well as the filmmaker's relationship to his fraught and complicated material. Written by
The documentary caused significant controversy when Eric Steel revealed that he had tricked the Golden Gate Bridge committee into allowing him to film the bridge for months and had captured 23 suicides which took place during the filming phase of the project. In his permit application to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Steel said he intended "to capture the powerful, spectacular intersection of monument and nature that takes place every day at the Golden Gate Bridge." See more »
[after witnessing a suicide]
When I talked to the highway patrolman, I asked him "Is this a rare occurrence or does this happen a lot?" And he looked and me and he sort of smiled and he said, "It happens all the time."
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This film's got a lot of publicity due to the controversial nature of a small amount of its content - namely people jumping from the bridge. There is so much more to this film than that.
Yes, its shocking, yes its heartbreaking but by talking to the families and friends of the jumpers there is a tremendous insight into the true ramifications of suicide. Some families/friends come to terms with it, some don't. Some realise that their friend/relation is now at peace, while some are angry at the selfishness of it. I found a lot of the film life affirming, it also features a survivor and someone who was rescued at the last moment. This really isn't a ghoulish film.
It's an excellent documentary that makes no judgements. All it does is spotlight something in society that we don't like to talk about in an intelligent, compassionate and unbiased way. There is so much more to this film than just the shock value, hopefully people will see that.
For what its worth I felt that by deciding to take their own lives in a public forum the jumpers had forgone the right to privacy in their final moments. I didn't feel like a voyeur. I recommend this film very highly.
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