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The Arbor


Clio Barnard

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About the Film

The Arbor is the powerful true story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar (The Arbor, Rita, Sue and Bob Too) and her daughter Lorraine. Andrea wrote honestly and unflinchingly about her upbringing on the notorious Buttershaw Estate in Bradford and was described as a genius straight from the slums. When she died, tragically at the age of 29 in 1990, Lorraine was just ten years old. The Arbor catches up with Lorraine in the present day, also at 29; ostracised from her mothers family and in prison undergoing rehab. Through compelling interviews we learn that Lorraine sees her mother as a destructive force throughout her childhood; an alcoholic who let her suffer abuse and whom Lorraine blames for all that is wrong in her life. Through interviews with other members of the Dunbar family, we see a contrasting view of Andrea, in particular from Lorraines younger sister Lisa, who idolises Andrea to this day. Re-introduced to her mothers plays and private letters whilst in prison, the film follows Lorraines personal journey as she reflects on her own life and begins to understand the struggles her mother faced. A truly unique blend of documentary and fiction, The Arbor is a captivating and revelatory piece of cinema.

Customer Reviews


A heartbreaking look at life on 'bleak street'. This docudrama is in intelligent and thought provoking piece of work.
I was completely gripped and have watched it twice. Each time with tissues. It is mind blowing.

sad but interesting film making

when i read the back stoey about dunbar jusr before watching the arbor it was sad but seeing the way clio (director) portrayed it in the way she did made me even more touched by how all the family had been through such a hard time through dunbars death. brilliantly and cleverly told by clio just a really sad story because its real.

The Arbor
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  • £9.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2010

Customer Ratings