42 Up

In 1964, British television aired a documentary entitled Seven Up, in which they interviewed a group of 14 seven-year old schoolchildren. Every seven years later, another documentary appeared to follow the progress of their lives. 42 Up (1998) is the latest of these films, and it is utterly compelling. The way the film maps the course of these children’s dreams and aspirations through the years gives you a real insight into both their individual lives and the society in which they grew up. My only regret is that if I watch any of the earlier films, I’ll know what happens afterward. Watching this film made me wonder if I’d like my life to be documented in this way. It must have been difficult for these people as middle-aged adults to look back on some of the things they wanted when they were children or teenagers or young adults. Happily, this film finds almost all of them in a period of contentment as I suppose is the task of middle-age. Highly recommended, although I’d try to track down some of the earlier films first.

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