Friday, November 05, 2010



In 1964, director Michael Apted interviewed a group of seven-year-old British schoolchildren, chosen from the ranks of all the different social classes, for a BBC television documentary called "7 Up." Apted, now known for directing such features as "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Gorillas in the Mist," has since returned to film these same subjects every seven years. Within another year, it will be time to film "56 Up."

From Wikipedia: The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. Filming for the next installment in the series, 56 Up, is expected in late 2011 or early 2012. In 2005, the Channel 4 program, The 50 Greatest Documentaries, saw the series topping the list in first position.

In a 2006 interview, when "49 UP" came out, Roger Ebert,
who lists the "Up" series among his ten greatest films of all time, interviewed Apted in London.  Read this fascinating interview here:  and then, if you haven't yet seen the UP series, you can rent them from Netflix.  I was lucky enough to see the films from almost the very beginning, step by step, every 7 years and looked forward every time to the new interviews.  I feel as if I know these people intimately, from their 7-year-old selves to their 49-year-old selves, and soon we will see what their perspectives on life are at age 56.  This is truly the most fascinating series I have ever seen, seeing how a personality emerges almost full-blown by age 7 and how the basic personality remains the same, although growth changes take place over the years, adding wisdom from experience. Read how Roger Ebert feels about the films.  I feel exactly the same.



Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the "7 Up" series in school, lucky enough to find the "14 Up" and "25 Up"(?? I can't remember the next age, but I saw them as adults) and the "35 Up"...This will be fantastic. I shared this series later with my husband, who had never seen the series of documentaries...Folks, this set of movies are amazing. Go to your local library and see if they've got the series, if not, request they buy them.