In 2004, Eric Steel captured footage of 23 fatal leaps from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, then uncovered their wrenchingly poignant stories. His doco transcends voyeurism for a dignified examination of death.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
The history of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is rich and fascinating, but tragically, the Bridge has also been a beacon to the depressed and miserable. Since 1937, approximately 1300 people are known to have jumped to their deaths from this gigantic structure, and no doubt many others have gone unwitnessed. Eric Steel, the director of this controversial documentary, spent a year gathering footage from multiple camera angles surrounding the bridge, and in 2004 his cameras captured 23 fatal leaps. He then followed up those silent suicides by interviewing the grieving families and friends, uncovering many dramatic and wrenchingly poignant stories. The film transcends its uncomfortably voyeuristic subject matter by becoming a dignified examination of death. At times both eloquent and poetic, the documentary is also filled with dramatic tension – especially when it focuses on the recurring figure of Gene, a longhaired individual who lingers on the bridge for a heart-stopping 90 minutes of indecision.