Fish Tank: Andrea Arnold Interview
Long before she became an Oscar-winning filmmaker, Dartford native Andrea Arnold settled on a path that was anything but conventional. After moving to London in the late ’70s, she worked as a dancer on Top of the Pops, and later became a TV presenter in Britain for Saturday-morning kids’ programs like No. 73, Motormouth, and the enviro-awareness series A Beetle Called Derek. Never entirely comfortable in front of the cameras, Arnold was always writing, logging story ideas and character sketches. She left television in the early ’90s, went to film school, and made two shorts that screened at Cannes. In 2003, her 26-minute short Wasp, about a chronically stressed, emotionally desperate single mother living in a Dartford housing project, nabbed an Academy Award for best live-action short. Then came Arnold’s Cannes Jury Prize winner Red Road (2006), a raw, suspenseful, ingeniously constructed personal drama set mostly in a dark CCTV surveillance office in Glasgow. It was the kind of film—moody, absorbing, nerve-jarring, expressionistic—that made you sit up and take notice of this remarkably assured new filmmaker, and wonder where she would direct her energies next.