Uproar Over Film of Golden Gate Suicides
A documentary that records almost two dozen leaps from the landmark bridge has generated praise and scorn for its maker.
By John M. Glionna
Times Staff Writer
April 28, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO — For an entire year the cameras rolled, capturing death amid the eerie fog and shifting tides.
One by one, filmmaker Eric Steel documented the final moments of nearly two dozen despondent men and women, and the agonizing, four-second fall after they leaped off the Golden Gate Bridge, drawn by the span's tragic beauty.
His intent, he says, was to illuminate "the darkest corner of the human mind." If he watched enough people take their own lives, he thought, he could "spot the outward manifestations of their interior demons."
Steel says he too once considered suicide. "It's that Humpty Dumpty moment when it's all going to fall apart," he said. "For me and many others, it didn't come. For the people in this film, it did."
His documentary, "The Bridge," which opens at a film festival in San Francisco on Sunday after debuting Thursday in New York City, has already provoked outrage.
"This is like a newspaper carrying a front-page photo of someone blowing his head off; it's irresponsible, exploitative, voyeuristic, ghastly and immoral," said Mark Chaffee, president of Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network-California, who has not seen the movie. His 16-year-old son took his life in 1998.
"The phenomena of copycat suicides come from people just reading about this. Now we're showing it in full color on the big screen? That's just beautiful."
The project set off alarms soon after shooting wrapped in December 2004 after 365 consecutive days of filming.
Officials from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area said Steel misrepresented his project when applying for filming permits, telling them he wanted to capture the grandeur of the iconic orange suspension bridge.
Instead, they complain, he made what one San Francisco supervisor dismissed in media coverage as a "snuff film." read the rest here
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Golden Gate Bridge Suicides
now a movie
Posted by Olga at 10:36 PM