Michael Apted, Director
"42 Up" is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of a diverse group of real children as they develop from gap-toothed seven year olds to gawky adolescents and eventually into still questioning 42 year olds.
The film maker is Michael Apted, better known for directing "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Gorillas in the Mist" and most recently "The World is Not Enough." Apted was a young assistant on the original "7 Up," which was created to show how class differences affect life opportunities. Over the years the film series has gone way beyond that original aim. It's become a treatise on nature and nurture; on the continuity of personality and most movingly, how people evolve over time.
Apted was responsible for choosing the kids at age seven, and he picked a varied group. Some came from British private schools and presumably had their whole lives mapped out. Others were from the tough East End. Some kids were shy, others clearly extroverted. All were thoughtful and articulate -- one imagines a criteria for inclusion in the series.
Over the 35 years much has changed. Yet the people who have remained in the series continue to be willing to examine their own motivations and histories. "42 Up" is more upbeat than "35 Up."
If you can't get to see "42 Up," the earlier films are available on video. In each film ( 28; 35 as well as 42 Up) there are clips from past interviews, so you'll get to know each participant's past. Of course, with each subsequent film there's less screen time for the early years, though each works on its own.
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