A documentary-record-cum-drama with dreamlike musical elements describing the tragic lifestyle of its protagonists, the inhabitants of one of the poorest communities in southern California, with original music composed by Zach Condon, with songs by Bob Dylan.
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A straightforward and honest potrait of everyday life in a lost place. By using music and especially dance as a kind of distancing effect, Alma Har’el tries to undermine the overall impression of hopelessness with a glimpse of optimism. But I think it doesn't work each time.
One of the most visually interesting of this genre of nonfiction film that seems more & more prevalent in the US: the vague focus on poverty/social issues a la individuals in a community, handheld camera work with lots of focus pulls, a determinative soundtrack, beautiful landscapes.
Expressionistic at best, with a nauseatingly short depth-of-field and inexplicable uses of subtitling. It brushes over what's actually a complex, fascinating history and place, instead using it as a bland metaphor for desolation and a backdrop for characters that could have very well existed in any other Southern California desert town. Though I did appreciate the moments of musical magic (except for Beirut, yawn).
A documentary about the ghosts of potential and dreams... echoed through the citizens of a once-happening town. Bombay Beach follows people of different backgrounds and ages through their current life, which contrasts with their hopes. As a reflection of the characters' minds, the film pairs reality with choreographed dances and imaginations. A gentle study of a mental and physical place.