A provocative amalgam of documentary record and staged dramatisation, Clio Barnard’s first feature is an unflinching portrait of the damage ill-fated working-class playwright Andrea Dunbar inflicted on her children. Famed for her brazenly authentic treatment of Bradford’s Buttershaw estate, Dunbar (best-known for Rita, Sue and Bob Too) won the acclaim of the London literati, but lived a chaotic life filled with drink and the wrong men. The film is largely centred on the testimony of Dunbar’s half-Asian daughter Lorraine, whose own harrowing travails seem to stem from her mother’s imperfect parenting and damaged psyche. A complex character study is then made even more striking by having actors lip-synch to voice recordings of Dunbar’s family and friends, retaining the sometimes shocking intimacy of their revelations yet allowing for an extra layer of visual expressiveness. It’s fearless, original and harrowingly effective. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

There will be a Q&A with the film’s director, Clio Barnard, following the 18.10 screening on November 16th.

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