We Love… Bombay Beach by Alma Har’el

A surreal, documentary film by former music-video director Alma Har’el, Bombay Beach captures the individual lives of a group of wandering souls who have made their home in the abandoned, former vacation resort on the Salton Sea in Southern California.

Once a vibrant enclave for tourists during the 1950s and 60s – attracting Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin among others – Bombay Beach was left abandoned and forgotten when water levels rose. Now a major draw for photographers who are keen to document the decaying architecture, this post-apocalyptic landscape is an example of the failed development boom and so-called “American Dream” of the post-war period.

Rather than solely piecing together interviews and camera footage, Har’el also incorporates her music video skills into the film by choreographing dreamlike, dance sequences of the protagonists to a soundtrack of Bob Dylan and Beirut.  The outcome is part realist and part fantasy and encapsulates the tragic beauty of this area.

Bombay Beach opens at the ICA in London, this evening until February 16th.  You can also watch the enchanting trailer on Vimeo. – Samantha Fox

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