The Up Series (Seven Up / 7 Plus Seven / 21 Up / 28 Up / 35 Up / 42 Up)
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Fascinated by the footage, Almond's assistant, Michael Apted (later the director of The World Is Not Enough, among others, and president of the Directors' Guild), proposed to revisit the subjects every seven years, and in 1970, 7 Plus Seven was released, followed by 21 Up in '77, 28 Up in '84, 35 Up in '91, and the most recent entry, 42 Up, in '99 (Apted plans to continue the project). And the changes that occur to the original 14 (some of whom drop out of the project) are among the most fascinating and often tragic ever recorded on film. Success, failure, marriage and childbirth, poverty, illness--almost every possible element of the human experience passes before Apted's camera. And while each of the children's stories is riveting, the viewer will undoubtedly be gripped by that of Neil, a shy boy who endures incredible hardships. A one-of-a-kind series and sociological experiment, The Up Series is required viewing for not only documentary fans but any viewer with a curiosity about and concern for their fellow humans. The DVD set includes commentary by Apted on 42 Up. --Paul Gaita
- Exclusive interview: "Roger Ebert talks with Michael Apted"
- Photo gallery for each film
- Michael Apted biography
Top Customer Reviews
I resisted seeing 42 UP in the theater because I knew that one day these films would be on DVD and I wanted the pure experience of watching them all. Well, here they are and I'm not disappointed.
While Apted is very skillful in using previous clips to make each work stand on it's own, it's far more valuable to see each new clip as it unspools in real-time. For one thing, Apted can't know the future when he makes each installment and so can't edit with an eye to the future (and he admits on the commentary track of 42 UP that the two times he tried, he got it completely wrong -- and in one of those cases lost a valuable participant). For another, much of the richness of each interview is necessarily lost when it's chopped down to a sentence or two in later editions. Some of the most telling and poignant moments are those when one of the subjects gives a look to the camera (or the loved one next to them) in silence. Even Apted comments that about 80% of a particular film is edited out when he makes the next one.
While it's true there is a bit of repetition if you watch all these movies back to back, the total sweep of the experience is awesome which more than makes up for it. Apted does an amazing job by not commenting at all on the subjects (except through editing), letting the individuals speak for themselves. Their statements are loaded in a way that only an outside observe can see.Read more ›
There is no doubt that this series is one of the most interesting ever committed to film. Following the lives of a dozen Brits from the age of 7 through 49, the series is both fascinating and heartbreaking. It's impossible to watch the series without engaging in a guessing game, wondering where in life each will be when the next film in the series is released. It's also impossible to watch the series and not identify with the participants, seeing yourself in each of them. Few films have had the sociological impact of the Up Series.
However, while watching each of the films back-to-back, an uncomfortable feeling began to settle in. Despite director Michael Apted's insightful approach, at times he seems to ignore the fact that a documentarian's role is to serve as an impartial participant and that his opinion has no place in the telling of the story.
Apted often conducts his interviews with those from working-class backgrounds, and are still living in working-class environs, with the assumption that they must be miserable. Presumably, this is due to his own set of experiences. Though Apted was raised in a lower-income section of London, he managed to secure a scholarship to the City of London School and then studied law and history at Cambridge University. His attitude at times appears to say, "I succeeded, so why can't you?" Several times he asks these working-class participants if they aren't capable of more than what they are currently doing, not recognizing that several of them are either quite content with their lives or simply haven't had the opportunities or means to build better lives for themselves.Read more ›
For all of its strengths and weaknesses, this is a very human documentation of English people as they grow up and mature. As I have written before, in agreement with Roger Ebert, this is one of the most important films (collective) of our time. It is a documentation of people in our times that takes us beyond the hyperbole and fabrication of media culture and gives us real people in their real settings. Also important is that it is an invited world and not one of voyerism. These peoples lives are uniquely important and the series shows how media and political presuppositions can't box people into class units, which is what was originally intended and I applaud Apted for continuing the series and allowing the series people to have their own voice. Some have dropped out for their own personal reasons.
This is one of the most important historical documents from our times.
A friend in the UK has emailed me and said that Apted is at work on the series (currently written in 2005) and that 49 Up should be ready by Christmas.
Looking forward to the next installment.
This should be in your library, if you value history and documentaries at their best.
As each new chapter unspooled, the lessons about childhood, society, class and life in general become deeper and more profound. If this all sounds oh so very boring, it is not.
You will return to these films over and over again, and learn something new each time you view them.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing series! ...and the dvd's got here fast and in perfect condition. Thank you!Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great transactions! As far as the series goes it is a fantastic portrayal of the lives of individuals as they develop from childhood through adulthood. Read morePublished 11 months ago by naudilyn
Great movie! But if you watch it all at the same time. It becomes a bit repetitive because each of the movie reviews what happened in previous years.Published 12 months ago by Psygamma