A few weeks ago, Sean, Matt and I were at a screening of San Andreas, a movie that seemed to do its best to squash California tourism but actually only encouraged us to seek out some baseball tickets (that’s a very sturdy stadium they’ve got in San Francisco!) to a Giants game while we’re there.
By the time you’re reading (curse you, early morning flights!) we’ve probably already touched down in the Golden State and with any luck, we’ve had our first glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge. Now, if you thought San Andreas should have had us cancelling our plans to visit the shakiest of the united states, get a load of this movie:
The Bridge is a documentary about that beautiful bridge in San Francisco that just happened, at the time of its filming in 2004, to be the busiest site for suicides in the world (they don’t mention this fact on Trip Advisor) (has since been surpassed by a bridge in China). Director Eric Steel shot the bridge from across the bay for a full year, and captured 23 of the 24 known suicides during that time, bringing the bridge’s body count to somewhere in the vicinity of 1200. Steel was shocked that such a popular spot, well documented for its suicides (averaged 1 every 15 days during filming), was still not inclined toward any kind of prevention. Training his film crew in suicide prevention, the documentary is responsible for saving the lives of at least 6 would-be jumpers. The film, however, focuses mostly on those they didn’t save. Friends and family give voice to those no longer with us, casting the film with an eerie glow. It’s an honest look at suicide, but for some, it may blur the lines between morbidity and sensitivity.
The deck of the Golden Gate bridge is about 75m above water, which means a jump takes four full seconds before a person hits the water at 120km\hr. That sounds short but is an awfully long time to regret your decision. Most will die from impact; about 5% may survive the initial trauma only to drown or die of hypothermia. Very few live to tell the tale, but makers of The Bridge manage to track one down, and his story may be more haunting than any other.
So, a pretty bleak movie to celebrate the first day of our trip, but I always have love for a well-made documentary. And when I finally lay eyes on this amazing feat of engineering, I’ll be marvelling at its design and span, and mourning for the people who choose to end their lives there.
Stay tuned – we’ll be posting about movies inspired by our California trip as we go, and later today we’ll be checking out the Painted Ladies from the opening credits of Full House, as well as notable spots from Inside Out, Planet of the Apes, Big Hero 6, and Antman, and then Jay will complain that her feet hurt and Sean will wonder aloud why she didn’t wear more comfortable shoes, and Matt will try to placate them both with the lure of San Francisco treats (and by treats I mean martinis. Obviously).