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
Most of the posters here have already thoroughly covered the concept and content of this amazing docu series, so I'll avoid generalizations.
First of all, Apted began an American version years ago ["Age Seven in America," (91) and "14 Up in America"(98)], but I have been unable to locate them. He did not direct these versions, but acted as a producer. Ironically, 2005 is the year for "21 Up in America" and "49 Up." I certainly look forward to the latter.
It is quite interesting to see that the styles and "feel" of each original series entry appears about ten years off. In other words, the shows in the 80s feel like the 70s, and the 90s editions feel very 80s-ish. Has anyone else noticed this? Perhaps it is the difference in cultures, or the style of film-making. Regardless, the "Ups" are amazing. I watched all six documentaries within one week. Although I had been familiar with them as early as the 80s, I had never bothered to sample an edition. My loss.
There has been no document of human growth quite as effective as this.
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