7 February 2012

Bombay Beach is a ghost town located in the dusty Sonoran Desert in California. It had its own kind of goldrush back in the 1950s when it was a resort for rich and famous Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis. Now it is the home to a population of less than 300 according to the 2010 census. It is so hot that dead fish wash up on the coast and the caravans melt down into rust. Israeli-born director, Alma Har'el, travelled there to make this documentary of the same name. 

Har'el has chosen three residents of the town to shine a spotlight on including Benny Parish who unbelievably takes lithium and a truck load of other pills regularly… he is only seven. His Das was kicked out of the military and mainly drinks now and mainly talks about his time in jail. Benny is worried that he might be crazy. She also introduces us to teenage Ceejay who is on the run from gang violence that killed his cousin and Red, an elderly guy who manages to live just about on alcohol and cigrettes. Bombay Beach shows us these three generations living in the shadow of the American dream, which makes for haunting viewing.

Har'el experience as a music video director for the band Beirut definitely influences the style of Bombay Beach, which also features choreographed dance numbers again music by Bob Dylan and Zach Condon. The trailer feels almost dreamlike, almost as if this lost town isn't quite real.