'Killing The Fiction'
Saturday 31st January

The Bridge
a film by Eric Steel

More people choose to end their lives at the Golden Gate Bridge than anywhere else in the world. The sheer number of deaths there is shocking but perhaps not altogether surprising. If one wants to commit suicide, that is, there is an eerie logic in selecting a means that is almost always fatal and a place that is magically, mysteriously beautiful.
The director and crew spent all of 2004, an entire year, looking very carefully at the Golden Gate Bridge, running cameras for almost every daylight minute, and filming most of the two dozen suicides and a great many of the unrealized attempts. In addition, the director captured nearly 100 hours of incredibly frank, deeply personal, often heart-wrenching interviews with the families and friends of these suicides, with witnesses who were walking, biking, or driving across the bridge, or surfing, kiteboarding, or boating underneath it, and with several of the attempters themselves.
The Bridge offers glimpses into the darkest, and possibly most impenetrable corners of the human mind. The fates of the 24 people who died at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2004 are linked together by a 4 second fall, but their lives had been moving on parallel tracks and similar arcs all along.
Looming behind these stories is the Golden Gate Bridge itself, a monument that mirrors our highest aspirations and our lowest natures. We are uncomfortable with the grim realities suicide forces us to confront. We’d rather not see the mentally ill; we’d prefer suicides to be invisible — or at least to take place quietly in hotel bathrooms, barns, dorm rooms and closets.
The Bridge is a visual and visceral journey into one of life’s gravest taboos.

Deep Water

a film by Louise Osmond & Jerry Rothwell
This is an account of events of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe yacht race. These men set out to do something that had never been done before with no support vessels, wooden boats, no satellite phones, no GPS, and just their wits and skill to get them round the globe in one piece. Not to mention the months of solitude, the thundering southern ocean, little sleep, and boats that were often literally falling apart around them.

Sunday 1st February

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
a film by Errol Morris

“Throughout his work, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has sought out characters lost in their own eccentric worlds, and he has managed to convey their sense of wonder with their passion, be it a topiary gardener arguing the merits of hand shears in Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997) or astrophysicist Stephen Hawking discussing the origin of the universe in A Brief History of Time (1992). In his most provocative work since The Thin Blue Line (1988), Morris details what happens when this interior dreamscape collides with the hard facts of history. As a young man accompanying his father to work at a state prison, Fred A. Leuchter, a bespectacled mouse of a man, learned how inefficient and inhumane most executions were, and he set out to design and build a better electric chair. Soon he began getting offers from state institutions throughout the country to redesign their electric chairs, along with gas chambers, gallows, and lethal injection machines. He quickly became a renowned expert in capital punishment. When the notorious Nazi sympathizer Ernest Zündel was arrested in Canada, he needed an expert witness to corroborate his assertion that the Holocaust was a hoax; and Leuchter soon found himself chiseling chunks from the gas chamber walls in Auschwitz — on his honeymoon. His illegal samples showed no significant residue of cyanide, so he concluded that the Holocaust did not happen. He soon became a celebrity of the neo-Nazi set: he testified on behalf of Zündel, gave lectures around the world, and published the Holocaust revisionist tract Leuchter Report. Much to his surprise, his death-machine business began to flounder, his marriage collapsed, and he found himself pursued by Jewish organizations and creditors. "

Aileen Wuornos: The Selling Of A Serial Killer
a film by Nick Broomfield

The Selling of a Serial Killer. Unlike the two newer releases, Broomfield’s original doc focuses less on the life, motivations, and case against Wuornos and more on the nefarious machinations of the adopted mother, self-serving lawyer, and money-hungry police who all sought to profit from her sensational crimes. Wuornos, a Florida prostitute, was charged with (and convicted of) killing seven male clients during 1989-1990, and during her journey through the judicial system she was adopted by a devout Christian woman named Arlene Pralle, who promptly hired shady musician-turned-attorney Steve Glazer to represent her. The two try to milk Broomfield for tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for an interview with Aileen as they simultaneously convince Wuornos to plead no contest (in effect, as good as a guilty plea), allowing a damning portrait of cold-hearted greed to emerge. Pralle and Glazer, eager to make Wuornos a shining example of Christian repentance, come across as nothing more than fervent, mercenary missionaries. Meanwhile, the cops prove just as unethical by working with Wuornos’ lesbian lover Tyria Moore — who testified against Wuornos during her trials — on a TV movie based on her crimes. Broomfield is a persistent, scrupulous investigator, even if his narcissistic penchant for interjecting himself into the drama can become wearisome (still, he’s immeasurably more bearable than the insufferably egotistical Michael Moore). His films function as chronological documents of his investigations, and in the case of Aileen Wuornos, Broomfield succeeds in making his filmmaking journey as compelling as his conclusive portrait of limitless avarice. (Nick Schager)