Stayed up far too late last night watching a documentary called 'The Bridge', and then reading the end of 'Deathly Hallows', discussion of which will be left to another day.
'The Bridge' is the end result of a year of filming, day and night, at San Franciso's Golden Gate Bridge. The film-makers caught 23 of the 24 suicides that took place there in 2004 on the more than 10,000 hours of tape they shot. Very disturbing, and somewhat controversial -- but I'm very glad I watched it. Much food for thought: were the film makers exploiting the last, black moments of the people who chose to end their lives by jumping off the bridge? The executive producer Eric Steel admits to lying about the reason behind his filming in order to get permission to shoot his film around the bridge for a year. Was he glamourizing the deaths to fill his own pockets?
My take is that the film deals sensitively with a very bleak subject. It doesn't offer facile answers, but looks at the lives, families and friends of a half-dozen or so of the people who died that year. And a look at the interviews (included on the disc) of the people who worked on the film shows that they thought deeply about the subject matter they were filming. All of them had access to the suicide prevention line and made use of it.
The question they were left with was why money hasn't been set aside to put up jump-barriers on this bridge -- by all accounts one of the most common sites of public suicide in the US. A person jumps off the Golden Gate an average of once every fifteen days. There have been more than 1500 suicides since the bridge was built. It makes me wonder about the Lions Gate bridge...
I took the picture above when I was in San Francisco in April this year.