I interviewed Alma Har’el about her spectacular documentary Bombay Beach
Bombay Beach is the beautiful documentary about the town of the same name from Israeli-born Music Video director Alma Har’el. It tells the story of three of the towns inhabitants – bright and unique yet directionless child Benny, college hopeful CeeJay and the wise old man Red. Featuring music from Beirut and Bob Dylan, as well as stunning cinematography and inventive dance sequences, it’s an unforgettable piece of documentary film making, and here Har’el explores further some of the themes within the film, as well as how she came to find the town in the first place.
Hope Lies – Bombay Beach is an incredible place, how did you discover it and what first drew you there?
Alma Har’el – I worked as a music video director with a band called Beirut and we were doing this low-fi music video by ourselves with a small camera, and we were shooting it in LA and then we sorta wanted to a back story for it, I wanted to do that, and Zach (Condon, lead singer of Beirut) told me he was going to Coachella, to perform there, it’s a music festival in the desert about an hour and a half from Palm Springs, so I ended up going there with him thinking I would film him. But it was very chaotic, and I was staying with the band and then at a certain point a friend said “well, I know you’re not shooting yet but I know you wanted to do some location scouting so why I don’t I show you this place that I think you are gonna love.”