.I -: .I, QWMQE'g-H

throu h a

Life len

Red Road director Andrea Arnold might not be steeped in cinematic history but, says Allan Hunter, her new film Fish Tank is a work of timeless beauty. It

opens our 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival coverage in style

ndrea Arnold is a director who likes

to work on instinct. She makes films

that are defined by their acute observation of real lives rather than informed by a movie buff’s love affair with cinema. The point is underlined at the Cannes launch of her new film Fish Tank. a portrait of a lonely, troubled teenager stunningly played by non-professional newcomer Katie Jarvis. An earnest European journalist enquired if Arnold might have taken some of her

22 THE LIST 1 1—25 Jun 2009

inspiration from the Francois Truffaut classic The 400 Blows. She quickly replied: “Don’t know the film. sorry. Perhaps I should go to my local video store and get it out.‘

At 48. actor-turned-filmmaker Arnold is considered one of the British screen industry’s late bloomers. She is clearly intent on making up for lost time. winning an Oscar for her powerful short Wasp (2003) and securing the Cannes Jury Prize for her debut feature Red Road (2006). a feat she has just

repeated with Fish Tank. Critical acclaim for the film has confirmed her as the new standard bearer for a strain of dynamic social realist drama best personified by Ken Loach. the Dardenne brothers and Mike Leigh. She has an ability to discern the extraordinary drama in ordinary lives. Her working style also has echoes of Loach and Leigh as she prefers to let a script develop organically as she works with the actors. This leaves Arnold open to the element of discovery as the script