The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, November 23-29

repertory-the-arbor

The Arbor (2010)
Directed by Clio Barnard
In The Arbor, sometimes too simply called a verbatim film, Barnard’s recorded interviews with the family and friends of wunderkind playwright, Andrea Dunbar, form the dialogue of mesmerizingly lip-synced, reenacted scenes, many of them filmed in the same English housing projects where Dunbar lived and set her own plays. A star at 15, but dead at 29, leaving behind three children from three different men, Dunbar was celebrated for her authentic and unvarnished voice—”a genius straight from the slums.” But The Arbor goes further than breathlessly pretending to speak, raising questions about how truth is constructed, realism is consumed, and a voice can be heard and still remain unknown. Dunbar’s children supply much of the The Arbor’s dialogue and uncertainty, reckoning with her legacy and, at times, each other’s stories. Mixing hyper-realism and all-too-real suffering, The Arbor is a disorienting, moving testimony to difficult, irreducible life. Jeremy Polacek (November 26, 4pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s “A Decade of Documentary”)

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