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The crew spent the whole of 2004 filming the world famous Golden Gate Bridge, symbol of man's engineering triumph and a symbol of freedom - documenting almost two dozen suicides and several unsuccessful attempts. They also interview the family and friends of the dead, as well as some of those whose attempt failed.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The Golden Gate Bridge "has a false romantic promise to it," in the words of one woman whose friend jumped to his death from its orange iron ledge. She is one of several interview subjects who grapple with the loss and occasionally the guilt of having been there but unable to stop their friend from jumping. This doco explores the phenomenon of the Golden Gate jumpers - and there are many.

The idea, which became almost an obsession for filmmaker Eric Steel (aptly named), is more intriguing than the execution, with repeated views of the bridge from various angles and at various times of the day, and even at night, at dawn, at dusk, in sunshine or in fog. We watch from the distance (cameras on the shore) as some pedestrians become jumpers. Or as would-be jumpers are rescued by passers by or police.

The interviews are insightful, but they would have greater impact and relevance if they were presented more methodically, and linked to the subject of the interviews, ideally with a photo. In the absence of these links, the people we are hearing about float into the ether, too distant for the material to really connect and impact on a simple, emotional level. As for their insight into suicide, it's almost nonexistent.

The doco is nonetheless interesting in its own way, but the 'Making of' feature is arguably even more so. Eric Steel explains how an article in October 2003 about putting up a barrier to stop people jumping off the bridge spurred him to leave New York and camp at the Bridge with a scratch crew to make this doco. He was fascinated by that dark moment when a would be suicide walks on and half way across the bridge.

Published December 20, 2007

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(US, 2006)

CAST: Documentary

PRODUCER: Eric Steel

DIRECTOR: Eric Steel

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Baldwin, Peter McCandless

EDITOR: Sabine Krayenbul

MUSIC: Alex Heffes

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of 'The Bridge' (20 mins)

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent

DVD RELEASE: December 19, 2007

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