The world’s most popular spot for suicides is San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, where, since its construction in 1937, some 1,300 people have topped themselves. Inspired by a New Yorker article about jumpers, documentary-maker Eric Steel set up digital video cameras throughout 2004, overlooking this iconic site to record any fatal leaps.
Potentially, this could have been a crudely exploitative exercise. Yet Steel exercises appropriate visual restraint and sensitively interviews relatives, friends and lovers of the victims, the majority of whom had been battling with serious mental illnesses.
The director photographs the magnificent bridge itself, capturing what one participant calls its “false romantic promise” and showing peaceful, everyday life (like sight-seeing and boating) co-existing alongside violent death. Recommended, if sobering viewing.