Somewhere With No Bridges is a compelling insight into loss, and the effects of human kindness. A celebration of life like you’ve never seen.
Directed by: Charles Frank.
Country: United States.
Running time: 58 minutes.
Charles Frank‘s intimate and sincere documentary about his cousin and the effects of his death in a fishing community is nothing short of outstanding. We are not used to films going this deep into the insides of a family and a community for the sake of forming a figure through memories and testimonies. Frank’s decision of portraying life after death is poignant when staying away from any kind of unnecessary exploration of the death itself.
In fact, it’s almost secondary to the film that Richie Madeiras, Frank’s cousin, passed away almost twenty years ago. The young director prefers to shed some light on that mysterious feeling everyone has when talking about Richie. This is a beautiful and poetic enlightenment on the life of a stranger to the world, but a brother, a husband, a father, and an incredible friend to the community he belonged to.
After Somewhere With No Bridges ended, I felt like I had known Richie and his warm and kind smile. I can almost imagine what it would have been to be by his side in the boat, fishing, and becoming part of the culture of that town that to this day remembers him with passion.
Another version of grief
There, in the words of those that remember Richie, lies the truth about Frank’s intention to know his cousin. After all, he was only a small kid when he found out about his death. He was only familiar with tears, cries, and gazes of absolute uncertainty. But he gathers conversations and understands the value of life, as short as it may be. Through a series of memories, he compiles a version of his cousin and does his own version of grief. One that he must prepare for. The last scene in the film is eye-opening.
The oneness of a tight community
Perhaps Somewhere With No Bridges is not the film you are expecting it to be. Maybe you don’t need to visit Martha’s Vineyard and its traditions and culture. But Madeiras’ peers are amazingly magnetic in their statements. It’s almost like visiting the town you grew up in. Values are explored through the kind words of those that still remember Richie and do the things they did when Richie was alive. I can’t think of anything better than this to get the hang of a place.
A beautiful discovery of human principles through loss
Nowadays, you have to almost appreciate the director’s decision of making the film: Frank does not go for something vulgar and exploitative like exploring the death of Madeiras through a “true crime” perspective. It seems almost sinful to even think about that. That harrowing moment is described as the sun sets, and the sea welcomes change. This is Frank’s way to make us understand his intention of exploring culture and family values through heartbreak and recollections of a man that sweated kindness and love.
Somewhere With No Bridges is an extraordinary glimpse into something as personal as loss. Not everyone will understand Frank’s lyrical foray into his own world. However, if there’s something to be learned with the movie is the importance of moments, of conversations, of life. It’s fragile and we don’t notice it until it’s broken. Somewhere With No Bridges is a composition of life and the merits of one simple man who was grand to his community. It’s hard to imagine if you need more than that in your life.