I have been anticipating the availability of this film on DVD since I first learned of it last year. The Bridge is a documentary film about suicide. Inspired by Tad Friend’s article “Jumpers” published in the New Yorker, Eric Steel filmed the Golden Gate Bridge for a year. Steel captured footage of the suicides and interviewed their friends and family members. Steel also interviewed people who have attempted suicide at the bridge, and witnesses of the suicides.
It is not difficult to imagine this is a controversial subject. Accusations of deceit and exploitation have dogged Steel and the project. Steel revealed in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that his goal all along was to “allow us to see into the most impenetrable corners of the human mind and challenge us to think and talk about suicide in profoundly different ways.” What he told the Golden Gate Bridge officials in order to get permits was that his work was to be the first in a series of documentaries about national monuments. Perhaps it is because I found the project compelling and worthwhile that I defend Steel’s actions, and am willing to concede the stated premise as true. The Golden Gate Bridge is a national monument.
More suicides occur at the Golden Gate Bridge than anywhere else in the world. This film is a rare, unapologetic look into the mystery of suicide, and into the psyche of a person who feels drawn towards death.
Evocative, engrossing and haunting—Steel has produced a sensitive study of an iconic bridge, the souls who throw themselves from it and the ripples that final act leaves behind.