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The Arbor DVD

Andrea Dunbar died tragically at the age of 29 in 1990, leaving ten year old Lorraine with bitter childhood memories. The Arbor catches up with Lorraine in the present day, also aged 29, ostracised from her mother's family and in prison undergoing rehab. Re-introduced to her mother's plays and letters, the film follows Lorraine's personal journey as she reflects on her own life and begins to understand the struggles her mother faced. Through interviews with other members of the Dunbar family, we see a contrasting view of Andrea, in particular from Lorraine's younger sister Lisa, who idolises Andrea to this day.

Dunbar wrote honestly and unflinchingly about her upbringing on the Buttershaw Estate and was hailed as 'a genius straight from the slums' by playwright Shelagh Delaney. Her first play, 'The Arbor', originally written as part of a school assignment, described the experiences of a pregnant teenager with an abusive drunken father. Its success at The Royal Court Theatre led to Dunbar's commission to write 'Rita Sue and Bob Too' in 1982. The play and subsequent film by Alan Clark, was described as a portrait of "Thatcher's Britain with its knickers down". The film garnered critical acclaim at the Cannes, Berlin and Edinburgh Film Festivals in 1987 and is now considered a cult classic.


Clio Barnard also grew up in the Bradford region and in making the film, Barnard wanted to revisit the Buttershaw estate to see how it had changed in the two decades since Dunbar's death.


Barnard recorded audio interviews with Lorraine Dunbar, other members of the Dunbar family and residents from the Buttershaw Estate over a period of two years. These interviews were edited to form an audio 'screenplay,' which forms the basis of the film as actors lip-synch to the voices of the interviewees. This footage was intercut with extensive archive clips as well as extracts from Andrea's first stage play, 'The Arbor', filmed as a live outdoor performance on the Buttershaw Estate, to an audience of its residents.


The excellent cast includes Manjinder Virk (Lorraine Dunbar), Neil Dudgeon (Steve), Monica Dolan (Ann), Danny Webb (as Max and Father), Christine Bottomley (Lisa Dunbar), Kathryn Pogson (Pamela Dunbar), Natalie Gavin (Girl in 'The Arbor'), Jonathan Jaynes (David Dunbar) and Jimi Mistry (Yousaf in 'The Arbor')


Transcending genre and defying categorisation,
The Arbor is a truly unique work, a celebration of Dunbar's triumphs and a dissection her legacy, both from a wider society perspective and on a personal level as we witness the pain of her short and tragic life.
Directed by: Clio Barnard
Cast: Manjinder Virk, Christine Bottomley, Monica Dolan, Neil Dudgeon, Danny Webb, Jimi Mistry
Produced by: Tracy O'Riordan
Winner
London Film Festival: Best British Newcomer 2010

Winner
London Film Festival: Sutherland Award 2010

Winner
British Independent Film Awards: Douglas Hickox Award

Technical Details:

94 mins
RUNNING TIME
15
CERTIFICATE
2
REGION
16:9 FHA
ASPECT RATIO
LANGUAGE
Theatrical trailer
Short film "Road Race"
Subtitles for the hard of hearing
Audio description
EXTRAS
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"One of the year's most original films"
Time Out


"Heartrending, imaginative and compelling"
Daily Express


"Extraordinarily powerful"
The Times


"A remarkable film"
Daily Telegraph


The Guardian


Metro


Heat


Uncut


Evening Standard


"Fascinatingly original"
Empire


"Extraordinary and heartbreaking"
Mail On Sunday
 
"Utterly outstanding, totally absorbing and very moving"
Little White Lies

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