Adam Kempenaar, Filmspotting cofounder, host, and executive producer, is captivated by:
The Arbor Last year around this time I was encouraging every movie lover I knew to seek out the challenging, provocative, and often disturbing Greek "family" film Dogtooth. This year I can't stop talking—or thinking—about The Arbor, Clio Barnard's experimental account of the troubled life and even more troubled legacy of British playwright Andrea Dunbar.
The Arbor's radical conceit eschews talking heads in favor of actors lip-synching pretaped interviews with family members and friends of Dunbar, who wrote three semiautobiographical dramas about coming of age in her Yorkshire council estate. Juxtaposing these performances with street-staged productions of selected Dunbar pieces, the layers of artifice commingle in thrilling, revelatory—and appropriate—ways. Dunbar employed art as a means to understand and ultimately transcend her dysfunctional world; exploiting Dunbar's own aesthetic, Barnard offers representations of tragic personal experiences that inform and illuminate.