Andrea Dunbar was fifteen when she started to write her first play - The Arbor. Set in Bradford, in the notorious Buttershaw Estate and even more notorious street, Brafferton Arbor, it tells the story of a teenage girl who gets pregnant with the Pakistani boy and has to face the conflict with her family, especially with her alcoholic and abusive father. In 1980 the play was staged at Royal Court Theatre in London. Andrea Dunbar died in 1990 at 29. She left three plays and three children by different fathers. Called by Shelagh Delaney a 'genius from the slums' she never left Buttershaw. In 2010 Clio Barnard made a film about Dunbar - an innovative documentary using actors lip-synching to pre-recorded interviews. Barnard also used an archive material and footage of scenes from 'The Arbor' staged in the Brafferton Arbor itself. Her story of Dunbar slowly evolves into the story of Lorraine, Andrea's daughter. Lorraine's tragic autobiography seems to be a direct consequence of her mother's biography. Barnard, blurring the division between documentary and fiction and between biography and autobiography, leaves the viewer wondering about the status of truth in cinema.
Karolina Kosinska, Instytut Sztuki, Polska Akademia Nauk, Zaklad Antropologii Kultury, Filmu i Sztuki Audiowizualnej, ul. Dluga 28, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
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