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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

The Latest Installment in Michael Apted's "Up Series", "63 UP" Due For Theatrical Opening

The latest installment of Michael Apted's much acclaimed "Up Series" opens November 27th at the Film Forum in New York City and on December 6th at the Landmark Nuart in Los Angeles, followed by a nationwide opening December 13th. Don't miss this intriguing docu/drama about the struggles faced by the average person as revealed over a lifetime every seven years. You don't have to have seen the previous eight installments to appreciate this study in the human condition, but you're going to want to after seeing 63 Up.

Emmy nominated, DGA and BAFTA award-winning director Michael Apted (Chronicles of Narnia, Amazing Grace) has chronicled throughout the decades a small group of British citizens as they have aged every seven years, since being just seven years old. This groundbreaking documentary anthology began as a "one off" for the BBC, and its popularity inspired consecutive return looks. The impressive archival endeavor has reached 63, gaining further illuminating insight into its premise of asking whether or not our adult lives are pre-determined by our earliest influences and the social class in which we are raised. This is an issue as relevant to Western society now as when the series first appeared. The documentary film reveals more life-changing decisions, more shocking announcements and joy and tears in equal measure to every previous installation.

Originally, 7 UP was broadcast as a "World in Action" special in 1963. It was inspired by the founding editor Tim Hewat’s passionate interest in the Jesuit saying, “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man,” and his anger at what he saw as the rigidity of social class in England. The original film featured the children talking about their hopes and dreams for the future. As members of the generation who would be running the country by the year 2000, what did they think they would become? And over the years we have seen how those dreams have changed, willingly and otherwise.

The result was ground-breaking and the follow-up films every seven years have won an array of awards. Director Michael Apted, who moved to Hollywood in the late 70s to direct films including the award winning films Coal Miner’s Daughter, The World Is Not Enough, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Gorillas in the Mist, commitment to returning every seven years to chart the progress of the original subjects as they travel through life is truly remarkable, particularly when you consider he is twenty-three years older than the subjects themselves. Now over six decades in the making, the films have documented the group as they became adults and entered middle-age, dealing with everything life has thrown at them in between. Now, as the group reaches retirement age, the filmmaker is back to discover what they are doing with their lives and how they reflect upon the past.

Being what one might consider a twist on the plot of Boyhood, the "Up Series" was the first to actually achieve what Richard Linklater's film aimed for: the chronicle of life as subjects age in real time. Perhaps Linklater was inspired, or perhaps he came upon the concept completely independently. Either way, the existence of both is a testament to the fascination we hold for the human process of adjusting to age, the pressures we place upon ourselves, and those created by the societies in which we live. Who is to say what is a successful life, or even what the correct path may be. What is certain are the influences placed upon as along the way. This film will show you that.


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