Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Up Series |
Seven Up / 7 Plus Seven / 21 Up / 28 Up / 35 Up / 42 Up
Actors: Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield, Andrew Brackfield, John Brisby
Directors: Michael Apted, Paul Almond
Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, renowned director Michael Apted has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their live... more »
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Worth your money... AND your time
The Rocketman | Los Angeles, CA | 11/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Given one of the most sublime points of this series, that time is precious and fleeting, it's interesting to see that people ask why they should spend so much money on this series, rather than the more important question of why should they spend so much time.
I resisted seeing 42 UP in the theater because I knew that one day these films would be on DVD and I wanted the pure experience of watching them all. Well, here they are and I'm not disappointed.
While Apted is very skillful in using previous clips to make each work stand on it's own, it's far more valuable to see each new clip as it unspools in real-time. For one thing, Apted can't know the future when he makes each installment and so can't edit with an eye to the future (and he admits on the commentary track of 42 UP that the two times he tried, he got it completely wrong -- and in one of those cases lost a valuable participant). For another, much of the richness of each interview is necessarily lost when it's chopped down to a sentence or two in later editions. Some of the most telling and poignant moments are those when one of the subjects gives a look to the camera (or the loved one next to them) in silence. Even Apted comments that about 80% of a particular film is edited out when he makes the next one.
While it's true there is a bit of repetition if you watch all these movies back to back, the total sweep of the experience is awesome which more than makes up for it. Apted does an amazing job by not commenting at all on the subjects (except through editing), letting the individuals speak for themselves. Their statements are loaded in a way that only an outside observe can see.
There are a lot of sad moments here as innocent childhood perceptions get washed away by the realities of life and it's telling that at least one participant seems to have dropped out permanently. One of the lessons that you can see here is that regardless of place in society, not enough of us ever really consider, in a deep way, the values and dictates that our elders speak to us as children. Perhaps that's why Suzy, Neil, Bruce, and Nick stand out for me - each has obviously done deep soul searching even in these snippets of their life. (And what I wouldn't give for an interview with Charles who seems to have reconsidered his life once he didn't get into Oxford.) For all their stature and privilege, John and Andrew seem the least imaginative of the entire lot and have lived lives on the conveyor belt as Charles puts it. Wait for the mid-life crises to erupt in 49 UP.
Be sure to listen to Apted's commentary on the 42 UP program. He clearly explains why Symon was absent on 35 UP (the reason is one might guess after seeing him on 42 UP) and John and Paul are absent (probably forever). It's most telling to me that it is the upper class (privileged) people who have the most problems with the Up Series (apparently Suzy does it reluctantly, but as part of her duty).
Watching this set of DVDs is a totally valuable experience and excellent reminder that our time on this planet is finite, so enjoy them...and life!"
Absolutely brilliant, but...
GTinsdale | New York | 10/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
There is no doubt that this series is one of the most important ever committed to film. Following the lives of a dozen Brits from the age of 7 through 49, the series is both fascinating and heartbreaking. It's impossible to watch the series and not engage in a guessing game, wondering where in life each will be come the next film in the series. It's also impossible to watch the series and not identify with the participants, seeing yourself in each of them. Few films have had the sociological impact of the Up Series.
However, while watching each of the films back-to-back, an uncomfortable feeling began to settle in. Despite director Michael Apted's insightful approach, at times he seems to ignore the fact that a documentarian's role is to serve as an impartial medium and that his opinion has no place in the telling of the story.
Apted often conducts his interviews with those from working-class backgrounds, and are still living in working-class environs, with the assumption that they must be miserable. Presumably, this is due to his own set of experiences. Though Apted was raised in a lower-income section of London, he managed to secure a scholarship to attend City of London School and then studied law and history at Cambridge University. His attitude at times appears to say, 'I succeeded, so why can't you?' Several times he asks these working-class participants if they aren't capable of more than what they are currently doing, not recognizing that several of them are either quite content in their lives or simply haven't had the opportunities or means to build better lives for themselves. He seems unable, or unwilling, to recognize the other riches in their lives, such as family, friends and community involvement, and often dismisses these achievements rather than celebrating them.
The most flagrant examples of Apted's prejudice takes place in "35 Up" in his interview with Tony, and in "49 Up" in his interview with Jackie. In the interview with Tony, Apted comments that everything Tony has ever attempted in his life has been a failure, ignoring Tony's stunning achievements, especially in consideration of his working-class roots. (At the time of "35 Up," Tony had realized his dream of being a professional jockey, an actor, he owned his own business, owned his own home, and had been married for 13 years with 3 children. Hardly what anyone would call a failure.) At times Apted appears unable to recognize that the courage required to attempt new ventures is success in itself regardless of the outcome.
In his interview with Jackie in "49 Up," Apted asks Jackie whether her son is similar to her at his age. When Jackie says that he is, Apted asks Jackie if that is a worry, implying that Jackie's life is less than admirable. Justifiably, Jackie becomes upset by the question prompting her to respond with, "I never said that he picked up all of my traits, only my best traits."
Even with its flaws, the Up Series is a fascinating study of class structure and human evolution. Highly recommended.
thisisgibbie | Indianapolis | 04/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was on a cold January day in 1988 that I first saw 28 Up on PBS in Central Indiana and later 35 Up in the theater in Seattle with 42 Up, like most people these days - on video at home. My point is that there is a personal history in this series that goes from the participants and producers to the public.
For all of its strengths and weaknesses, this is a very human documentation of English people as they grow up and mature. As I have written before, in agreement with Roger Ebert, this is one of the most important films (collective) of our time. It is a documentation of people in our times that takes us beyond the hyperbole and fabrication of media culture and gives us real people in their real settings. Also important is that it is an invited world and not one of voyerism. These peoples lives are uniquely important and the series shows how media and political presuppositions can't box people into class units, which is what was originally intended and I applaud Apted for continuing the series and allowing the series people to have their own voice. Some have dropped out for their own personal reasons.
This is one of the most important historical documents from our times.
A friend in the UK has emailed me and said that Apted is at work on the series (currently written in 2005) and that 49 Up should be ready by Christmas.
Looking forward to the next installment.
This should be in your library, if you value history and documentaries at their best.
No,it's really 10 stars !
C. Wilson | SCAPPOOSE, OR USA | 08/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"God,this is a great DVD set..
I put this together through the years originally on VHS,now on DVD.
I can remember so vividly sitting there watching this in black and white
the very first show. I was mesmerized.
And then before I knew it,another 7 years had past,and well you know the
rest. I never ever forgot them,even waiting seven years in between.
In earlier years before the Internet,we had no place to go to buy this stuff.Your local stores sure didn't carry this kind of merchandise.
I thought of it so often and with each 7 years passing,I became
more convinced than ever that I was seeing a once in a lifetime viewing.
There were shows that were similar,the Loud Family,etc.
But this was something special. I paid an arm and a leg for each show
as I was lucky enough to finally start my collection of the series.
In some cases I paid close to the current price of the set for a VHS used
copy ! Buying this set on DVD was a dream come true.
The human beings in this series are just like you and me..
Their weaknesses and their strengths are all on display.
It is facinating to see them age through the years,but how very much in personality they remain from the start of the series.
I can't imagine how different this will be for viewers to see this all at
one time when it took me from meeting them at 7 and now them being 49 !
I have waited along time to get this far with them and will be there for as long as they are continuing with the series.
I was disappointed when someone would drop out,I had my favorites.
My favorite from the first time I saw the series was Neil.
After seeing the series,I will bet alot of you will be able to see why.
It is an experience to remember. It's their lives. I have gone on the journey with them.