Click here!

Bombay Beach

Documentary, Drama, Musical

Bombay Beach is one of the poorest communities in southern California located on the shores of the Salton Sea, a man-made sea stranded in the middle of the Colorado desert that was once a beautiful vacation destination for the privileged and is now a pool of dead fish.

Film director Alma Har'el tells the story of three protagonists. The trials of Benny Parrish, a young boy diagnosed with bipolar disorder whose troubled soul and vivid imagination create both suffering and joy for him and his complex and loving family. The story of CeeJay Thompson, a black teenager and aspiring football player who has taken refuge in Bombay Beach hoping to avoid the same fate of his cousin who was murdered by a gang of youths in Los Angeles; and that of Red, an ancient survivor, once an oil field worker, living on the fumes of whiskey, cigarettes and an irrepressible love of life. Together these portraits form a triptych of manhood in its various ages and guises, in a gently hypnotic style that questions whether they are a product of their world or if their world is a construct of their own imaginations. Read more …

More information on this production is available at

The critical consensus

Quirky, moving and unique, it’s a haunting bedside view of the place the American Dream went to die.

****(*)Paul Bradshaw, Total Film, 23/01/2012

Har’el’s is...a beautiful film, with crepuscular lighting Terrence Malick could envy.

****(*)Tony McKibbin, The List, 23/01/2012

The fact that Alma Har’el is still stuck in music video director mode makes for an interesting new breed of documentary.

****(*)Phil Wilding, Empire Online, 30/01/2012

Given the colourful flourishes and strains of Beirut, it's so engrossing you could watch a toilet flush as long as it looks and sounds this pleasant.

****(*)Nicola Balkind, The Skinny, 01/02/2012

A soundtrack featuring Bob Dylan and Beirut gives a poetic lift to the visual desolation, while Har'el takes a determinedly upbeat line on this poor, tough, insular community.

***(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 03/02/2012

It's a rich slice of Americana, and there's a great soundtrack from musicians including Bob Dylan.

****(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 02/02/2012

While candidly exploring the hard lives of the characters and their families, the film does have some inspired moments of magical realism.

David Edwards, Daily Record, 03/02/2012

Drifts in and out of reality and leaves your head somewhere in between.

****(*)Alexander Capes, Little White Lies, 03/02/2012

A compelling, highly self-conscious documentary, it's involving, mystifying, unpatronising and carefully orchestrated.

Philip French, The Observer, 05/02/2012

Dropping all pretence at objectivity with specially co-ordinated dance sequences, [the director's] approach is more empathic than entomological: she presents her subjects not as objects to be gawked at but as real people with hopes, dreams and stories of their own.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 22/03/2012

Features about Bombay Beach

Bombay Beach and the allure of the ghost town

Xan Brooks, The Guardian, 02/02/2012

Bombay Beach

Where and when?

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday March 23, 2012, until Sunday March 25, 2012. More info:

Comments: 0 (Add)

To post a comment, you need to sign in or register. Forgotten password? Click here.

Find a show

Search the site

Find us on …

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on YouTube