Tuesday, October 11, 2011
BOMBAY BEACH, the unique new film from Israeli artist/filmmaker Alma Har'el, should prove unlike anything you've yet seen. Because the film won Best Feature Documentary at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, I was prepared to watch a documentary. But as I did, time and again, "What's this?" I would find myself wondering. For clearly, the film is not just about a film-maker pointing a camera at her subjects and recording them. No: She arranges them, even at one point producing a kind of dance. According to the press materials, which I read only after seeing the film, she also used improvisation -- which we generally think of as a narrative technique -- and she ends her movie with a fantasy that, given what we know by then, just might break your heart.
That ending -- which imagines a fantasy of one of the characters whom we care so much about -- may strike some as beyond the pale of the documentary process. TrustMovies no longer knows where that pale ends, so quickly and in so many varied ways has documentary changed over these recent few years. But in the case of Bombay Beach and little Benny, who "stars" in the film's finale, I would like the think of this fantasy as a gift of hope from the filmmaker to her subject.
Boaz Yakin and self-distributed theatrically, opening this Friday, October 14, in New York City at the IFC Center, and in Los Angeles on October 21 at Laemmle's Sunset 5.