On November 22nd, A24 is releasing the documentary The Beach by Australian director Warwick Thornton. It is going to be a visual experience like no other. The film will be steaming online for 24 hours for seven days.
Few studios today are experimenting with the limits of cinematography the way A24 has been over the last decade. The Beach is a docu-series starring director Warwick Thornton himself, three chickens, a dog, and a mud crab on a deserted beach. The director and protagonist had self-isolated himself on a beach shack on the northwest coast of Australia in 2019.
Little else is known about the plot or if there even is one. From what can be seen on the three-minute trailer Thornton wakes up, catches whatever natural ingredients he can find from his direct environment, cooks gourmet dishes with limited resources, drives around, and then does the same thing again the next day. He repeats this process in a loop, perhaps catching a crab instead of a fish, or instead of preparing a meal with soggy oats, he’ll maybe fry an egg.
But in essence, that is what the viewer will be watching for over a week in a “continuous streaming experience”. The closest thing to a plot or a story is described by Deadline as The Beach is “the journey of a man who has chosen to give up life in the fast lane and decamp to an isolated beach in an attempt to transform his life through the healing power of nature.”
Cinematographer Dylan River explained in an interview in 2020 to The Guardian Australia that “One of the most important things about the show is that it… doesn’t have that sort of general television reason for being. It’s not trying to sell anything. I make a lot of mistakes in it. And I try to be as honest as possible about who I am and why I’m here.” It is still unclear if the film will be a week of loops or an actual week-long movie.
You can watch Mr. Thornton silently act out Cast Away for only $6 on the A24 Screening Room, which is the company’s virtual platform as well as on Apple TV or on Roku. The film will start its infinite loop on November 22nd.