Monday, September 10, 2007

The Up Series

Trailer for 49 Up

This is such a spectacular achievement, that I really cannot recommend strongly enough. This is one of the most important films you could spend your time with.

It's hard to try and take 49 years of 14 different people's lives and try to say something that would wrap everything up succinctly, nor would I want to spend too much time detailing what transpires to any one of them since I feel that would kill the journey.

I think it's the whole product that makes this series what it is. I think everyone will have different interviewees they find more interesting and one certain segment more interesting based upon our own personal places in life at the time you watch the films and with whom you relate to more. And in a certain respect, I don't know that 7 Up on its own would really have been that interesting really without the subsequent programs to follow it up. It's the evolution with each interviewee as they get older, get married, have children, get divorced in some cases, watch their parents die, feel the transition from the child to the parent, and then trying to help their children navigate through the choices they had to make. While 7 Up isn't necessarily interesting taken on it's own, in my opinion, I think it works wonderfully as an entry point into these children's lives, which helps you care about them later as many of them sort of retreat from the level of openness they had has children. And I'm glad they packaged 7 Up and 7 Plus Seven together on a single disc, since witnessing those changes was what really gripped me the most.

Introspection is such an important element to this film, not only in terms of watching these people reflect on where they are now in life, but also reflecting back at who they were in the previous films. And in turn, I couldn't help but look back at who I was at 7, 14, 21, 28 or ponder who I would be at 35, 42, 49, and beyond when subsequent installments of this series (hopefully) come along.

Beyond that, I think it was, for me in any case, also a really interesting look at English culture that I never really understood or even really recognized beforehand. They provide an intersting cross section of children from a wide variety of backgrounds. And because of that, I think I got a bit of an education on the class system that exists, and which, to some degree, may be slowly eroding. The different regional accents, the political beliefs, the social development of England (and elsewhere, as some have emigrated). It was all very interesting to see that as well.

It's interesting to see how these 14 ordinary people who mostly lead mundane lives that may even seem boring to them could be made into such a fascinating film series. I really hope more people take a look at this series. I had put it off for a while since it can seem daunting to take on a series of seven films, but the first two are so short that it's easy to watch them in one sitting, and once I got started, I had a hard time looking away. I couldn't wait to see what happened in the next film once I got started, and I really hate that I have to wait until 2013 to see what happens next. Highly, Highly Recommended.

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