Bombay Beach

Directed by: Alma Har’el

In an abandoned resort town on the edge of the Salton Sea in California, a poor community salvages what remains of an American dream. An old man traffics whiskey and cigarettes for a few extra bucks. A young boy with bipolar disorder fights irrepressible flights of fantasy at school and home. A teenager who has come to escape gang violence in Los Angeles dreams of becoming a football player and is ensnared by the traps of young love. Each story, told in a punch-drunk, stream of consciousness style, captures the beauty and sadness in the lives of men at seemingly pivotal moments. Filmmaker Alma Har’el fluctuates between strict observation and total involvement, and even stages choreographed dance scenes to more fully realize her subjects’ outsized personalities. The music by Beirut and songs by Bob Dylan are incredibly poignant against this apocalyptic backdrop. (Alma Har’el, 2011, 80 min., Israel/USA)

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