Blurring the Lines Between Documentary and Narrative
Dunbar was an alcoholic. She had three children, each fathered by a different man.
You won't recognize most of the actors, except perhaps for Jimi Mistry, who plays Yousaf, the father of Dunbar's eldest daughter.
Inter-cut with the reenacted interviews about Dunbar are archival clips Dunbar herself, conducted when her plays were performed at London's Royal Court Theater, where she was championed by director Max Stafford-Clark, whose audio interview is also lip synced in the film.
Bernard also stages scenes from Dunbar's first play, entitled The Arbor, in the open air, on the streets of Dunbar's neighborhood, with local residents looking on.
The result is a fascinating montage of reality and reenactment that reveals the inner truths of Dunbar's life and work, shows the living conditions of the working class poor in the north of England and gives rise to contemplation of the importance of artistic expression.
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- Title: The Arbor
- Director: Clio Bernard
- Release Date: October 22, 2010 (United Kingdom)
- Running Time: 90 mins.
- Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
- Location: Bradford, England
- Language: English
- Production Company: Artangel Media
- Distribution Company: Strand Releasing