The story of Chen Si, a man who patrols the Yangtze River Bridge in China saving people who try to commit suicide.The story of Chen Si, a man who patrols the Yangtze River Bridge in China saving people who try to commit suicide.The story of Chen Si, a man who patrols the Yangtze River Bridge in China saving people who try to commit suicide.
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.
- Apr 8, 2015