The Arbor
  • Year2010
  • Duration90 min

Andrea Dunbar, the famed Yorkshire playwright, wrote her first play, ‘The Arbor’ at age 15. Despite her youth she depicted the lives of the English working class with such sharply observed detail and honesty that she became a national sensation. Dunbar died too young at the age of 29, but her life and the story of those who have survived her are hauntingly captured in Clio Barnard’s outstanding directorial debut. Barnard uses actors to play the roles of the writer and her family and friends but replaces their voices with audio from interviews with their real-life counterparts. This unique take on form is a potent symbol of how Dunbar may have seen her own world. But the emotional effect of this layering is as startling and it is engaging as the cycle of conflict and abuse repeats itself as an almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rare archive footage of Dunbar herself and creative use the texts she wrote make for an unforgettable excursion into the legacy of one of the UK’s most intriguing writers.

“A captivating and truly unique work that transcends genre and defies categorization.” - David Kwok, Tribeca Film

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  • Director(s): Clio Barnard
  • Producer(s): Tracy O’Riordan
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Language: English
  • Format: Video Digi Beta PAL
  • Premiere status: None
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Julia Short
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