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Monday, April 20, 2015

BRIDGEND

A Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Selection

By D.E.Levine

Since 2007 there has been an epidemic of teenage suicides in the Welsh town of Bridgend.  Since February 1, 2007 there were 79 teenage suicides, with most victims between the ages of 13 and 17.

Most of the deaths involved death by hanging with no suicide note left behind.  This film steers clear of attributing a conspiracy or in fact indicating any proof of why the suicides occurred.

Danish Director Jeppe Ronde  co-wrote a screenplay with Torben Bech and Peter Amussen that is based on interviews and local research conducted over a six-year period.  The teenage community and the suicide problem is viewed through the eyes of a newcomer to town Sara (Hannah Murray) and never conclusively determines whether the adolescent group actively instructs or fosters drastic behavior such as suicide.

Although based on fact, the script is a drama centering around Sara who arrives in town with her policeman father David (Steve Waddington).  David is assigned to look into the plague of suicides.

While the adolescent community might not be forthcoming with the adults, Sara joins a group of the victims' friends who gather regularly in the woods for memorial rituals and maintain a message board to honor the dead.  Although initially distancing herself from the morbid rituals, Sara becomes involved with the vicar's son and feels drawn toward the eerie rituals.

The finale is both disturbing and somewhat confusing but makes for an interesting study of infectious hysteria.