Bombay Beach
Bombay Beach
Image: Courtesy of Dogwoof

Bombay Beach

4/5 stars
Film review by Nicola Balkind.
Published 01 February 2012

After an outstanding festival journey, a Tribeca World Documentary Award, and praise from Alec Baldwin, music video director Alma Har'el's debut feature Bombay Beach finally reaches cinema screens across the country. The documentary tells the lyrical story of California's forgotten residents, the low-income citizens of Salton Sea. Music from Beirut's Zach Condon intermingle with ethereal dance sequences and choreographed scenes scattered amongst real-life events. At once carefully composed and fly-on-the-wall, Har'el's distinctive approach is that of a hybrid documentary, as she plays with the desert light to draw us in to the inner workings of the locals' dark pasts and family lives. The story tells itself, making plenty of room for an artistic flair and injection of sound that elevate the film from a simple documentary to an artistic exploration. Given the colourful flourishes and strains of Beirut, it's so engrossing you could watch a toilet flush as long as it looks and sounds this pleasant. [Nicola Balkind]

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