56 Up

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No documentary project in history has rivaled the scope and longevity of the epic group portrait known as The Up Series. Starting in 1964, acclaimed filmmaker Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist, The World is Not Enough) began his film career as a researcher on a new experimental series for Granada TV called Seven Up, which aimed to explore the Jesuit maxim ”Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” 14 children from diverse social backgrounds from all over England were interviewed for the project, and for almost a half century, Apted has returned every seven years to check in on the lives of the original group through their successes, disappointments, relationships, marriages, children, careers, births and deaths. Now they are 56. From cab driver Tony, to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the heartbreaking iconoclast Neil, the present age brings new life-changing decisions and surprising developments for the “Up-sters.” Older and wiser but still pondering their lives and their involvement in The Up Series, the group reflects upon the twists and turns their paths have taken and access the role of circumstance and self-determination in their lives. An extraordinary look at the structure of life in the 20th century, The Up Series is, according to critic Roger Ebert, “an inspired, almost noble use of the film medium. Apted penetrates to the central mystery of life.” (Dir. by Michael Apted, 2012, 144 mins., Not Rated, First Run Features) Digital