TRIBECA REVIEW - Bombay Beach
The beautiful desolation of Bombay Beach makes it difficult to describe as a documentary. Alma Har’el’s directorial debut takes a nonfiction setting and displays its haunting qualities in poetic terms. The small, impoverished community where the movie is set - buried in the heat of the Colorado desert in Southern California, on the cusp of the man-made Salton Sea - brings to mind the remnants of a vacation resort in a post-apocalyptic world. These are real people living in an abandoned fairy tale, with little to do besides stare into the horizon and sigh.
Har’el often frames her subjects in silhouette, emphasizing the empty blue sky and equally barren landscape. They each have a reason for wandering to this forgotten no man’s land, which lies several miles from the rest of the settled world, as the director reminds us with occasional cutaways to other locations. Har’el focuses on a trio of individuals, each of whom fleshes out the broader sense of isolation and yearning to escape their surroundings.
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