In 1964, a film crew interviewed seven-year-old English kids: five or six from privilege, a Yorkshire farm lad, East-End girls, and boys from a children's home. Every seven years, Michael Apted re-interviews those willing (two declined this time). At 42, careers are stuck or flourishing; marriages are strong, shaky, or over (and Bruce recently married for the first time). They're dealing with parents' dying, and children coming-of-age. One is a single mom with young sons. One is remarried, but how are the five children from his first marriage? Lyn and Jackie face health problems with down-to-earth lucidity. Neil, on the margin at 28 and 35, has a glorious story of friendship at 42. Written by
This film and its predecessors are the most fascinating documentaries released cinematically, not because of their breathtaking cinematography, whiz-bang special effects or even revelation of secret or unknown information. What it does offer is a look straight into the personal lives of a group of people with nothing much in common except this series of extraordinary films which every 7 years throw their experiences open to the world. For the most part they are ordinary lives but they are engrossing as only reality can be. There is no gloss applied, no smoothing over of rough edges. Apted has become a friend to many of his 'subjects' and the warmth of their relationship with him comes into the film. In this program, even the effect of the film series on the people in it is examined, so in some ways it is a film about itself. Like a classic serial cliffhanger, at the end one is impatient to see the next instalment, but it will be seven years in production...
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