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Bombay Beach [Import]


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Product Details

  • Format: Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Ent. One Music
  • Release Date: Jan. 17 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005OTGRZE

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
humanizes the environment, stories behind the faces, beyond the walls
some exceptionally heartwarming stories, but not sentimental
watch the special features
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on March 2 2012
Format: DVD
Living in Bombay Beach, on the eastern shores of the Salton Seas, is a little colony of down-and-out, bedraggled squatters living from hand to mouth. As this very graphic film shows, their existence is bleak and hapless under the best of terms. This large body of landlocked salt-water is a living testimony to what happens when humans fail to come up with a plan to change the course of nature. The Salton Sea, as part of the lower Imperial Valley, has no channel by which to remove the salt water that accumulates in its basin from various irrigation projects in the area. The land around Bombay Beach, though pretty in its own way, is barren beyond belief. A prolonged drought and its isolation have discouraged most sensible people from living there, except for this little band of outcasts running away from the demands of city life. The filmmaker takes us inside their dreary lives to discover what makes them tick under such unusual circumstances: no hospital, school or stores close by but plenty of free seaside land for parking their dilapidated mobile trailers on. There is no living off the land here; just bare survival. What the viewer may find is that these families - subsisting on welfare - are happier than circumstances would have us believe. Though the dad in one of the families is in and out of prison and his son is finding it hard to succeed at school, there is an endearing sense of camaraderie as the extended family pulls together to make ends meet. While they are reduced to selling black-market cigarettes to scrape by, their loyalty to one another is nothing short of remarkable. This 'trailer-trash' lifestyle reminds me of Steinbeck's description of the Oakie encampments in 'Grapes of Wrath".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Living On The Fringe: A Society On The Tail End Of The American Dream Jan. 3 2012
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
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. While the portrait of these individuals may not always be flattering due to the circumstances of how they live, they are eminently real and relatable. And even if their prospects appear bleak, there is no lack of hope or joy in their existence. This is truly a refreshing viewpoint.

Much of the film is done in a cinema verite, fly-on-the-wall approach. But some of the sequences are staged to music (songs by the band Beirut and Bob Dylan) This, at times, gives the film an oddly surreal feeling. This mix of juxtaposed tones is quite unexpected and really resonated with me. But it is the film's photography that really stands out. As the camera pans across deserted beaches, abandoned homes, and collecting refuse--the movie quietly says more about the death of the American Dream than a dozen speeches could convey. It's haunting and impactful in a very understated way, allowing the viewer to interpret the film in very personal ways. Ultimately, maybe "Bombay Beach" is not for everyone. That's okay. But for those interested in sociology, this experimental portrait of people on the fringe offers much insight. KGHarris, 1/12.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Best documentary of the year. Nov. 29 2011
By duy718 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
"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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Poetic, gorgeous documentary about eccentrics living at the Salton Sea.. Nov. 3 2011
By Mary - Published on Amazon.com
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful and haunting, this film will resonate with you... Nov. 28 2011
By R. Vickers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
a new form of documentary Nov. 29 2011
By Steve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
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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