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Apr
29

Clio Barnard on THE ARBOR

The Sins of the Mother: Manjinder Virk as Lorraine Dunbar in THE ARBOR.

The Sins of the Mother: Manjinder Virk as Lorraine Dunbar in THE ARBOR.

Director Clio Barnard uses what was originally a theatrical technique in her hybrid documentary/drama THE ARBOR: She interviewed the friends, family, and acquaintances of the late playwright Andrea Dunbar and her troubled daughter Lorraine, then brought in actors to lip-synch to the resulting soundtrack. The process, shot partly in the working-class housing project that Dunbar both grew up in and chronicled in such plays as THE ARBOR and RITA SUE AND BOB TOO, surprisingly results in a singularly filmic experience — intimate, intense, thoughtful, and at times disturbing. That the lives of these two women contain no shortage of drama — despite her success, Andrea never moved out of her neighborhood and, after having born three children out of wedlock and lapsed into alcoholism, died at 29 of a brain hemorrhage, while Lorraine eventually became a heroin addict and prostitute before bearing three children herself — only helps to make THE ARBOR a stunningly unique look into the both the potential and limits of art to redeem a life.

Click on the player to hear my interview with Barnard.

THE ARBOR
Trailer

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THE ARBOR Over at filmforum.org

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