The Arbor 2010 UNRATED

Amazon Instant Video

(4) IMDb 7.2/10

Andrea Dunbar was described as a genius straight from the slums. The unflinchingly honest playwright wrote about her distressing upbringing on the Arbor, the notorious Buttershaw Estate in Bradford, UK. When she died tragically in 1990 at the age of 29, Andrea left behind her plays and three children by three different men. Although Lorraine, Andrea s oldest daughter, acquired a knack for writing, she was unable to avoid a grim fate of her own. This documentary follows Lorraine and her other siblings on a powerful journey of reflection and self-discovery as they begin to understand the struggles their mother faced. Comprised of personal letters; interviews with Andrea s family and friends; and a reading of her most celebrated play; The Arbor is as innovative in its construction and execution as it is heartbreakingly compelling.

Starring:
Manjinder Virk, Christine Bottomley
Runtime:
1 hour 35 minutes

The Arbor

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Clio Barnard
Starring Manjinder Virk, Christine Bottomley
Supporting actors Natalie Gavin, Parvani Lingiah, Danny Webb, Kate Rutter, Liam Price, Robert Haythorne, Josh Brown, Gary Whitaker, Jamie Timlin, Jimi Mistry, Robert Emms, Kathryn Pogson, Jonathan Jaynes, Richard Dunbar, Scott Brandon, Anne-Marie Barwell, Shelly Norman, George Costigan
Studio Strand Releasing
MPAA rating Unrated
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Harbour on December 14, 2011
Format: DVD
Interesting. Certainly an unusual way to make a film and it works surprisingly well but, really, I wasn't all that engaged most of the time. The scenes from the play "The Arbor" performed in the park were pretty cool, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 18, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This tells the life story of UK playwright Andrea Dunbar, who was
discovered at a very young age in the British housing projects known as
'The Arbor' where she wrote about the alcoholism and family decay she
watched around her.

The film uses two extraordinary devices, both of which I found
off-putting at first, but had great impact by the end.

First, scenes from Dunbar's plays are staged in the open lawn areas of
the real life Arbor, so we see a fight taking place in a living room at
night acted out on the grass in broad daylight (with a couch and other
living room props sitting there surreally, watched by - presumably -
the neighborhood people still struggling under the same conditions. At
first this just seemed distracting, but over time, it helped bring home
that Dunbar's works represented real people, real lives, real pain.

The second, even odder and more audacious move, is to have all the
interviews with the real participants acted out by professional actors
lip-syncing to the recorded words of the real people. Again, the was
distracting for the first while, but eventually it lead to the film
feeling simultaneously dreamy and like a memory, and in some way more
'real' than if the actors simply used their own voices.

A very moving film that doesn't always work, but his heroic enough in
it's bravery that it more than overcomes the occasional missed step.
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Format: DVD
I admit I didn't know much about Andrea Dunbar before this; I watched it because of reviews and award-recognition. It's certainly powerful and disturbing, and all involved do not hesitate to show life as it is, in a most dismal and unforgiving locale. It's a very clever format, using Dunbar's words and experience to portray life on the ass-edge of the UK.

"The Arbor" is often hard to watch, and I admire it for the unflinching grit portrayed by actors and director. We have a situation that is prevalent in an area of the UK that has produced many artistic prodigies, but none as simple and unassuming as Ms. Dunbar. The differences among the 3 daughters are well defined, and I can't imagine how their bleak existence could be more powerfully displayed.

Not pleasant, but definitely worth a look. The artistry is definitely complete and intact. I watched this last weekend, and it still resonates. A lesson for those who think they're at wit's end: Write a play.
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Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
A unique way to document a story about damaged people. The director uses various techniques to tell the story of the young playwright. It can be hard to watch because of the story but it's original and seems to capture the characters successfully.
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