The Arbor



Barnard’s debut, an experimental docu-fiction, is dedicated to the legacy of the alcoholic British playwright Andrea Dunbar, who died at the age of 29 on 20 December 1990. Dunbar left behind three children by different fathers – Lorraine, Lisa and Andrew – as well as a slender opus of social-realist tragicomedies, which take place in the Brafferton Arbor housing estate in a run-down part of Bradford. In this film, we see the fate of Lorraine, who was eleven when her mother died. In her tragic life story, which spiralled downwards through drugs and prostitution, the conditions of her origins seem to be confirmed. It’s like watching a seed open and grow. But who sowed it? The distancing effects that Barnard uses here are made up of original historical documents and re-enactments, which expose their own artificiality: eyewitness interview statements are lip-synched by actresses and actors; in the background of illustratively staged scenes we see the locals stand and stare. Authenticity and abstraction are thereby mixed together in an intriguing fashion and make way for an overdue encounter between mother and daughter on a level playing field – at the end of which there may even be some form of catharsis. (as)



GB 2010
94 Min. Color. Digital HD. E/e

Director: Clio Barnard

Script: Clio Barnard

Camera: Ole Bratt Birkeland

Editor: Nick Fenton, Daniel Goddard

Music: Harry Escott, Molly Nyman

Cast: Manjinder Virk, Christine Bottomley, Natalie Gavin, Danny Webb


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