THE ARBOR is one of the more innovative and ingenious tweaks to the documentary medium: Clio Barnard takes audio from interviews, frames actors in expressionist tableaux (beds on fire, play excerpts performed before the play's real-life subjects), and has those actors lip sync to those real peoples' words. More than a gimmick, it brings vivid life to the journalistic tradition.
Unforgettable storytelling. This hybrid, auto ethnographic, play/documentary is gripping and breaks all the rules of narrative structure and obliterates the four walls of spectatorship. Kitchen sink British theatre brought to your own living room. Call this film it whatever you want, it will have you thinking about creativity, mental illness, sexual oppression, addiction and race in a whole different way.
I was not prepared for how brutal this is.
That said, am really grateful such a piece of art exists + the way it was handled.
It felt akin to having my nerve ends abraded by the abyss's maw & yet, yet... it's got SO. Much. Love!
Earlier the Samantha Morton film about abandoned children ended with a statement showing the number of children affected by neglect. This doc brings it home, from the incredible cadence of Dunbar's daughters to the abject conditions that come off as natural or normal. It shows a side of England that we might not even think exists but for films like this one. The movie was incredible…