The Arbor

The Arbor

DVD - 2011
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Andrea Dunbar was an unflinchingly honest playwright who wrote about her distressing upbringing on the Arbor, the notorious Buttershaw Estate in Bradford, U.K. She died tragically in 1990 at the age of 29. This documentary follows her children as they begin to understand the struggles their mother faced. This film comprises personal letters, interviews with Andrea's family and friends, and a reading of her most celebrated play.
Publisher: [Los Angeles, Calif.] : Strand Releasing, 2011.
Edition: Widescreen ed.
Branch Call Number: 822.914 Dunba
Characteristics: 1 DVD (ca. 95 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.

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u
uncommonreader
Sep 28, 2014

A very interesting and innovative approach to biography - the actors lip synching the voices of the family, the presentation of scenes from Dunbar's play in the housing estate ... all this contributes to a thought-provoking and affecting portrait.

m
Monolith
Apr 08, 2012

I found Andrea Dunbar's tale in this inventive approach to a documentary (sadly) interesting, but the focus is drawn to her eldest daughter, Lorraine. From the beginning, she tells us of the horrors of her youth. Sexual abuse. Imprisonment in her bedroom. Starting fires indoors to keep warm. Accompanying her mother to the pub routinely. Memories of feeling unwanted by her mother. Issues with fitting in socially due to her ethnicity. Eventually the torch is passed. Teenage rebellion, homelessness, foster homes, recreational drug use... Insincere attention from men and unwanted pregnancy(s), prostitution to support her habit... This is just one of literally millions of unfortunate people with identical situations, trapped in a dark world of learning from such an example, generation after generation, and an environment with limited opportunity. I hope that Lorraine can someday break her chains and live out the remainder of her life in peace.

Michael Colford Mar 02, 2012

This remarkable documentary takes an unusual approach, using actors to portray the subjects, and speak using their recorded voices. The effect is astoundingly affected, and perhaps even serves to better convey the incredibly difficult tale of British playwright, Andrea Dunbar, her brief, trouble life, and that of her family. If you ever thought the messed up lives of Mike Leigh characters were hard to believe, you haven't seen anything yet. Take a look at THE ARBOR.

a
amethyst9
Jan 07, 2012

The documentary is filmed in an unconventional style, which I found interesting. Actors re-enact events in the lives of the young playwright and her children, primarily her two daughters. The story of the eldest gradually unfolds and in the end it seems that the tough environment and poor parenting are difficult to surmount.

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Monolith
Apr 08, 2012

Lorraine (last lines): "Today I do every day clean and sober. If I ever felt like using, then I'd only have to think of the consequences of losing him (son Harris), and that's more than enough to keep me clean. I think I had to grow up. I had to see the world as it was and stop blaming it, and being very resentful towards everyone. And being angry, I guess."

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