Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

27 January 2008

The Bridge, dir. Eric Steel (2006)

NIKKI says:
This is a film that will haunt me for a long, long time. The images within of people jumping to their deaths from San Fransisco's Golden Gate bridge were, at times, almost too difficult to bear. Early in the film, we saw the bridge from a far and tiny splashes hitting the water. Then we saw people, in close-up, leaping to their deaths. It was horrible, compelling, amazing. At the end of the film, I wondered what right these filmmakers had to film these people in their final moments, without their knowledge or permission. But deep down I know such a picture, painting as starkly and beautifully as this is not exploitation or invasion, it's about documenting something so incredible in our world. Like pictures from war, maybe.

The film shows us a side of life we might not often consider. We might be well aware of suicide and its many forms, but you realise you know very little until you see Gene Sprague leap onto the railing at the end of this film and just fly, with confidence, grace, and urgency. It's perhaps the most brilliant image I think I've seen on film. There's tragedy in the moment, but there's nobility as well. And that's what this film does -- challenges us and out thoughts on suicide and death in general. Are these people tragic, desperate souls? Or are they brave people desiring spectacular entry into the next realm?

I can't remember the last time I saw a film that challenged me in this way. I was torn between so many viewpoints here. The filmmakers sat at different points around the bridge and filmed 24 hours a day and seven days a week for an entire year. They could many jumpers on tape and entered into the lives of some of those people for some background. Are all jumpers alike? Do they all share the same reasons? Who are the people behind the images? When they saw a potential jumper, they could call the coast guard and send rescuers onto the bridge, essentially interfering with people's lives. I wondered if they should do that? Of course, it's phenomenal to save a life, bu -- ugh -- I don't know... There's a scene in the film where a photographer pulls a potential jumper back over the bridge railing. I thought it was amazing, but I couldn't help but wonder if it was the right thing to do. I mean, of course it was the right thing to do, but is it prolonging the inevitable? Is it interference? I know the photographer was right, and I think he's a fucking hero. But there's this piece of me that wonders, on some other level, about the fallout from his choice. I would have loved to have heard from that rescued girl.

My being torn about all these things, though, made the film even more of an experience. Like I said, I can't remember ever going through so many emotions in film.


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