LA filmmaker Alma Har’el was scouting locations for a music video in southern California when she discovered Bombay Beach, a dying hamlet (population: 295) on the eastern shore of the Salton Sea. A booming tourist resort in the 1950s, it’s now occupied by assorted loners, cranks, and misfits, most of whom live below the poverty line. Har’el romanticizes their isolation in this 2011 documentary, which is partly staged: she warmed up her subjects through improvisation, shot scenes of theri daily lives, and finally choreographed fantasy sequences set to music. The concept pays off in one story line, about a black teen who fled gang warfare in South Central LA, but grates in the main narrative, about two jobless ex-felons and their three children, the youngest of whom has special needs that can’t be met in their stark environment.