The KimStim Collection, with sales and distribution support provided by Icarus Films, announced this past week that Danish documentary filmmaker Jeppe Rønde’s first dramatic film, Bridgend — which is actually based on his own research (more on that in a moment) — will be making its domestic DVD debut on July 19.
Between 2007 and 2012 there were a total of 79 unexplained suicides in the Welsh town of Bridgend, which has a population of right around 50,000. Most were teens and young adults. It is quite the mystery … so many suicides, without rhyme or reason, in the same area over so short a period.
Jeppe Rønde set out to make a documentary on the subject and spent quite a bit of time in the area researching the subject, but fellow documentary filmmaker John Michael Williams beat him to the market place with his own documentary, which is also titled Bridgend.
It is just too juicy a mystery to let all that research go to waste, so he teamed with fellow Danish writers Peter Asmussen (Breaking the Waves) and Torben Bech to fashion a fictional tale that combines many of the working theories about what triggered so many irrational acts.
The catalyst for their story is the assignment of David (Steven Waddington — The Last of the Mohicans, The Imitation Game, as Lightoller in the 2012 Titanic mini-series, etc.), a police detective, to the area to investigate the deaths. He arrives with his teenage daughter, Sara (Hannah Murray — best known to American audiences as Gilly from the Game of Thrones television series) and this combination of detective and teen gives us full access to the community.
David gives us a view from the investigative side, with all of the case files and methodology associated with solid police work — it is a mystery after all. Sara, on the other hand, gives the viewer access to the core group most likely to be involved in a suicide attempt … or murder?
Although the area is picturesque, even beautiful, cinematographer Magnus Nordenhof Jønck (A War, A Hijacking, etc.) — a fellow Dane — works in deep, cool green tones that, over time, become depressing … is it ever bright and sunny here? His work adds immeasurably to the mood of this dark mystery.