BOMBAY BEACH is one of the most up-lifting, happy, beautiful films I’ve ever seen. The film is set in Bombay Beach which is a small desolate town on the Salton Sea, in Southern California. It has a population of 295, and the majority of them live in poverty. It is home to many ruins and other washed up rubbish.
The beginning of the film helps explain how Bombay Beach was formed and how it was meant to be a beach resort but now is just a failure of the 1950s development boom. Given this depressing context, you would be mistaken to think that the film would focus on the sad aspects of living in one of the poorest communities in this area. However, this film kept a smile on my face from the joyous and positive personalities that jumped out of the screen.
BOMBAY BEACH centers around three people, and documents their life in Bombay Beach. The three people are from different generations, and it is incredibly interesting seeing and hearing their views on life and on Bombay Beach as a place, because each of their views are very different. From the old man who sees it as a run-down, ruined, isolated place that he loves; through the teenagers place to shine and succeed; to the young boy’s adventurous playground and beloved home. Alma Har’el (director) has an eye for beautiful imagery and you can see this from the very start of the film. She manages to turn an urban, ruined town into beautiful snapshots; the beauty makes you forget about the mess and rubbish you are actually looking at in such a magical way. I strongly recommend viewing this film, even if documentaries aren’t your thing.