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Bombay Beach (2011)

Alma Har'el  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Alma Har'el
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: January 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,623 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Visionary director Alma Har el presents a beautiful and moving portrait of a forgotten California tourist town, weaving together the stories of its inhabitants with surreal poetry and beauty.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The unusual and visually arresting documentary "Bombay Beach" offers a unique slice-of-life approach to its subjects that makes for an intimacy and immediacy that is quite unexpected. As the Salton Sea area of California evolved from an upscale tourist resort in the fifties to near desolation sixty years later, I anticipated that this was to be a document of that downward transitioning. It's not, however. So anyone expecting a traditional documentary feature about the area and its history is sure to be disappointed. But that's not to say that the film is a complete write-off, far from it. It just may not meet your initial expectations, but offers something even more rewarding. It showcases a world of isolationism, poverty, and decay that is haunting, disturbing, and undeniably memorable. The citizens that still inhabit the area are an eclectic group. Many might be considered societal misfits, some are just struggling to rebuild their lives, and some are striving for success and opportunity beyond the Salton Sea.

"Bombay Beach" follows three residents (or families) that live in the area. One family has lived on the fringes of society for many years, coming up on the wrong side of the law and child welfare services as often as not. They, however, are attempting a new leaf. One participant is an elderly hard-living gentleman who thrives in this impoverished community--reflecting back on his early years, but relishing every day he has left. He is very popular as a purveyor of convenient smokes. And the third subject is a high school student who escaped the gangland dangers of Los Angeles to have a more solid and safer start. He dreams of utilizing his experiences as the star of the small local football team to capture NFL glory.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best documentary of the year. November 29, 2011
By duy718
"Bombay Beach" is that rare film that attempts to be something truly new. And it succeeds. The documentary genre is an important one, but it tends to take itself too seriously these days. Whether it's the muckraking of Michael Moore or the We-Know-What's-Good-For-Your patronizing of Frontline, documentary films have become cliches that too often play it safe with conventional shooting, editing, and storytelling. "Bombay Beach" is poetic and lyrical and all the things that naysayers will condemn it for being. But, in my opinion, that's a good thing. Some of the most meaningful non-fiction stories come in the form of poems and songs and dances. This film deftly combines the best of many artistic genres into a compelling, stunning story of real people in a real town dealing with real problems.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Mary
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This won best doc at TRIBECA FILM FEST. It's a stunning, warm and heartbreaking documentary that follows a group of unique people - each with their own dreams - living at The Salton Sea. Wonderfully inventive, beautifully shot and a portrait of people you won't soon forget. Really worth a watch.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I was lucky enough to catch this film in it's limited release in theater and am so happy I did. I wasn't sure what to expect and even if I had, I think I got much more than I ever could have asked for. First off, this film is gorgeous, every shot in itself is a piece of art. The film is shot with so much care for the individuals in it that immediately you are invested in their stories. This is an unconventional documentary that has small bit of choreographed dance throughout that only pulls you deeper into the story and enhances the film in ways you definitely could not expect. If you want to watch a film that breaks all the norms and delivers a beautiful story that will resonate with you long after it ends, I highly recommend Bombay Beach. Easily the best doc I have seen of 2011.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a new form of documentary November 29, 2011
By Steve
A wonderful movie. Bombay Beach allows us to enter the world of the forgotten around the Salton Sea. Like a fly on the wall, the director shows a segment of American society many will never see. There is no judgement, no answers, but there is humanity and reality. The use of music and dance is woven seamlessly into the piece. Bombay Beach is often sad and gutwrenching, but ultimately uplifting, showing the spirit of each person to rise above what he or she has been dealt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Salton Sea Not So Much February 12, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
All Salton Sea documentaries are more inhabitant centric but this one more than most
focuses on less area and really delves into a couple of specific families. It's not a bad
sideline for those with interest in SS but not exactly what I was hoping for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've seen this film five times already... November 29, 2011
By Lisa B.
The first time I saw this film was at the Tribeca Film Festival last April, where it went on to win Best Documentary Feature. From the first time I watched it, I felt inspired and uplifted. There was/is something about Alma and the journey she takes you on in this film. This story could have been told in several different ways. Just Google "Bombay Beach, CA" and you'll see it portrayed as a rundown place where the only people left are the ones who couldn't leave. But you don't witness a one-sided, narrow portrayal in Alma's film. While the main characters are struggling, the film does not glamorized their struggles. The dance sequences show us parts of their souls, their hopes and their dreams. It is beautiful and sensitive and human -- it is the most real documentary I've seen in a long time.

I've seen it five times already, which may seem excessive, but every time I am awed by the storytelling, whisked away by the melody and grounded in the lives of these characters in this place called Bombay Beach.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully done
incredibly sweet documentary with a hint of magic realism.
Published 23 days ago by Sheets!
5.0 out of 5 stars The DVD was excellent, no problems and I received it in a ...
The DVD was excellent, no problems and I received it in a timely manner. And it's so interesting, I like to watch it over and over again. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve Mazer
5.0 out of 5 stars You will grow to care deeply about these people
Disturbing, yet beautiful film about life on the fringe of the American Dream. Initially we wondered if we were witnessing a variation on "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Indiana Book Lover
4.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, true stories.
The ugly truth is that although there is a lot of haunting natural and unnatural beauty at the Salton Sea, you won't find it at Bombay Beach. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jerrica Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
One of the most artful and inspiring documentaries of our time. Some reviews here state it didn't hold the viewer's attention. Read more
Published 7 months ago by ZACK ZOOK
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a very broad view
This movie had the perspective of 3 families near the salton sea, but it felt very staged and narrow minded
Published 9 months ago by stephanie A
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and uneducational
You learn nothing about the Salton Sea area. It is not about the sea and the communities, it is about a boring family that lives there. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jerry L. Dixon
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Pointless and Disorganized Movies I Have Ever Seen
Based on the title and description, I thought that this would be an informative documentary, but really it was one of the most pointless movies I have ever seen. Read more
Published 15 months ago by shelfishness
1.0 out of 5 stars Wretched Movie
If I could return it I would, but it's an instant video. Exploiting this family is shameful. This family doesn't need a videographer poking about, they need to get a clue on how to... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Holly Lamb
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't hold my attention...
There are very few dvd's I've watched that I could not finish and this was one of them. I give the film high marks for visuals and technique but I found the film surreal and... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Dana Stone
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