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A unique, brave piece of documentary and docu-drama film making.
It tells the life story of UK playwright Andrea Dunbar, who s was discovered at a very young age in the British housing projects known as 'The Arbor' where she wrote about the alcoholism and family decay she watched around her.
The film uses two extraordinary devices, both of which I found off-putting at first, but had great impact by the end.
First, scenes from Dunbar's plays are staged in the open lawn areas of the real life Arbor, so we see a fight taking place in a living room at night acted out on the grass in broad daylight (with a couch and other living room props sitting there surreally, watched by presumably the neighborhood people still struggling under the same conditions. At first this just seemed distracting, but over time, it helped bring home that Dunbar's works represented real people, real lives, real pain.
The second, even odder and more audacious move, is to have all the interviews with the real participants acted out by professional actors lip-syncing to the recorded words of the real people. Again, the was distracting for the first while, but eventually it lead to the film feeling simultaneously dreamy and like a memory, and in some way more 'real' than if the actors simply used their own voices.
A very moving film that doesn't always work, but his heroic enough in it's bravery that it more than overcomes the occasional missed step.
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