Friday, September 14, 2007

The Up Series DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Complete “7 UP“ Series Released on DVD

“Give me the child until he is 7, and I will show you the man.“ Back in 1964, that Jesuit maxim served as the inspiration for 7 UP, a documentary in which 14 British 7 year-olds were interviewed about a variety of subjects, class, prejudice, love, marriage, career and their overall dreams for the future. Every 7 years since, director Michael Apted has tracked down his subjects to see just how their lives have been measuring up to those expectations.
Because among the kids participating are both male and female, black and white, and rich and poor, each update has proven compelling, as we’ve been able to watch their fates diverge, as both their backgrounds and their personal qualities play a role in their lot in life.
The Up Series is a 6-disc DVD compilation which contains all seven installments in the spellbinding, seamless franchise: Seven UP, 7 Plus Seven, 21 UP, 28 UP, 35 UP, 42 UP and 49 UP. The most recent entry proves to be every bit as compelling as ever, as we now find members of the group grappling with issues associated with middle-age.
This one has recently divorced; that one has remarried. This one is worried about job security, another’s on welfare, still another’s living in the lap of luxury. There’s evidence of mental disease and physical ailments. Some are still childless, some have plenty of offspring, even grandchildren.
With the benefit of 20-20 cinematic hindsight, this generation-spanning production enables the viewer to revisit 42 years-worth of the subjects’ intriguing lives. What is most fascinating is how prescient expectations emanating from the mouths of babes turned out to be, clearly confirming that the Jesuits were on to something.
Time-lapse cinematography taken at seven year intervals.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running Time: 710 minutes
Studio: First Run Features Home Video
DVD Extras: Audio commentary, biographies, a Roger Ebert interview with Michael Apted, and a photo gallery.

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