‘Few debuts in British cinema have been as bold and assured as Clio Barnard’s. The Arbor, released in 2010, is a film that defies easy categorisation, weaving between documentary, drama, re-enactment, adaptation, essay, and, at its core, an exploration of the Bradford-born writer Andrea Dunbar. The film, so named for the street that Dunbar grew up on, used professional actors to lip-sync to audio recordings of interviews conducted by Barnard with Dunbar’s family and friends. These actors talk directly to the camera as if they are the people whose voices they have co-opted. Meanwhile, at various intervals, other actors perform scenes from Dunbar’s plays at different locations around the council estate, while the actual residents hover about the edges, observing.’
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