7.9/10
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2 user 2 critic

Angel of Nanjing (2015)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Drama | 27 March 2015 (USA)
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The Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing is one of the most famous bridges in China. It is also the most popular place in the world to commit suicide. For the past 11 years Chen Si has been ... See full summary »
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13 wins. See more awards »

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The Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing is one of the most famous bridges in China. It is also the most popular place in the world to commit suicide. For the past 11 years Chen Si has been patrolling this bridge, looking to provide aid for those who've gone there to end their lives. Incredibly, he has saved over 300 people since he began - nearly one every two weeks. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | China

Language:

Chinese

Release Date:

27 March 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

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Color
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Trivia

The idea for the film came after Co-Director Jordan Horowitz read a small article about Chen Si in the New York Times. Since he knew nothing about filming in China, he asked long time collaborator, Frank Ferendo to join him and Co-Direct the film. See more »

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Horowitz and Ferendo Present an Angel
8 April 2015 | by rnhschillaciSee all my reviews

The winner at the 15th Annual Phoenix Film Festival for Best Documentary and the Dr. Sydney K Shapiro Humanitarian Award went to the incredible story of blue collar worker Chen Si who for 11 years has been preventing suicides from happening off the Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing, China. Jordan Horowitz and Frank Ferendo bring this incredible tale of human kindness in an unsympathetic matter-of-fact light much like the subject of their film. Chen, having no formal education in psychology, continues to save lives and finds himself compelled to do so. He cannot understand why the phenomena of the suicide rate on the bridge went on as long as it had.

We see Chen go about his daily life as a good and dutiful husband, a manager for a transport company, and the famous Samaritan that he has become. But fame does not affect this man. Even with all the televised reports and news articles regarding his life saving efforts, Chen Si remains grounded and dedicated. He is genuinely concerned about the people he saves and goes as far as to keep in touch and help solve the problems that burden them.

It's an impossible task, but the man appears undaunted. Directors Horowitz and Ferendo chronicle the man's life, but have no answers as to what compels him. That's because Chen just finds it a natural act for him. He has immersed himself in saving lives and making them better, and cannot see any other way to live his life. What sets this human interest story above all others is not just the man's commitment, but the way his blue collar roots are captured.

The spiky black haired 42 year-old with the stained tobacco teeth and gruff exterior seems the most unlikely candidate for an angel. But for all intense purposes, the man is. We witness his handling of many attempted suicides and ones that hang by the bridge merely contemplating their end. Chen has several different approaches. He can be sympathetic, and he can be no-nonsense, acting as if he is furious for their ridiculous thoughts of killing themselves.

Jordan Horowitz and Frank Ferendo take to the run-down streets and neighborhoods, the now famous bridge, and the crowded city and bring the weight of the world that is carried on the shoulders of these people through an almost murky look. Yet, they manage to bring a smile to our face as well with Chen's subdued humor that can be infectious. They demonstrate beautifully how one smile, one kind word, and the simple act of caring can break through all the gray and save a life that was once perceived unworthy by its owner, providing that much needed ray of hope for a better future.

This review is taken from my article "Highlights from the 15th Annual Phoenix Film Festival" from The Movie Guys.


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