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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
I can't say enough about this series. I just watched 28 up, 35 up and 42 up all in about a week's time, so there are a lot of things to talk about within the entire series, rather than just in this one particular film. But I'll do my best to focus on 42, since that is the film I am commenting on.
As a film on its' own, 42 up is probably the most interesting of the series as far as watching the people change physically over the years goes. Each subject filmed at the six different stages appears (except for those that had dropped out of the program) and you get to see how they have transformed over the years. 42 is also great because you also get to see how film techniques (& stock) have evolved over the years along with the people. In the present time, the film looks beautiful and rich in color while each successive film appears murkier and murkier over time until you get the original black and white of 1964. The problem with 42 Up, if you were going to watch just this one film, is that because there are so many flashbacks of people at various stages, this leaves little room for getting to know them better (during a 2 hour time frame). I have talked to people who say, "I am just going to watch 42 up because they give you all the background stuff anyway.." I say NO!.....
For a richer experience, and this is what I did so you can take it for what it's worth, watch 28, 35, and 42 up at least so you can get to know these people fully at each stage. There are crucial things that happen to these people in 35 for instance which does not show up in 42.(Neil!!John!!) I cannot even view each film as seperate, because they all seem sewn together somehow. Taken as a whole, they are amazing to watch..and the suspense in wondering what happened to each over the next seven years is truly there if you start early in the series. So watch some of the others before you watch 42 to get the full effect.
On to the characters..who are real people. Their stories are so beautiful to watch unfold over time it is truly amazing they were captured at each stage as they grew up. And you can even get the feeling by the end how large their lives really are and that they extend way beyond the borders of the film which the filmmakers obviously knew and luckily never once tried to pretend that they could completely capture the essence of a person on film. You just get tiny snippets of who these people are yet by the end you can't stop thinking about them, they become a part of you. I cannot think of any movie or series of movies where the characters were so richly drawn as these were, especially over the course of time. A beautiful, wonderful series that everybody should own.
Questions (if anyone can answer them for me) 1) Whatever happened to John???? why don't they even mention him (like they do some of the others who dropped out) in 35 & 42? He disappears after 28! What happened to him??? 2) Are there any other projects going on like this in America or on a global scale? I think it would be a brilliant idea to do this similarly Globally to investigate and compare cultures all over the world! 3)Will there be a 49 Up or was that the end of the series?
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