Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Singular Documentary Series

Shot over 42 years, the documentary series that began with 7 Up returned to follow the lives of people in England every seven years. I first saw 28 Up and have watched the other films since then, which means that I’ve been following the series for 21 years now. By seeing how a group of people age and change over a period of time provides a unique perspective on their lives and how things have changed for them. It also provides a parallel with my own life, which has changed a lot over the past 21 years. While the context outside of the documentary has changed with the contrived situations of reality television, the latest instalment is a bit more self-reflexive with most of the participants much more settled and content than in earlier instalments. Director Michael Apted has been with the series since the beginning and took over the directorial duties beginning with 14 Up. It’s a fascinating and somewhat voyeuristic look into how things change over time.

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