Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
The most riveting real-life television series of them all began 42 years ago, when Michael Apted assisted director Paul Almond in making the documentary 7 Up, about the expectations of a group of seven-year-old British children. The purpose of the series was to take a group of 14 children from markedly different social backgrounds, who would be filmed again at seven-yearly intervals, to observe the impact of class on their lives and careers. (12 were boys, 13 were white. It was 1964, after all.) The 12 who welcome Apted’s camera back into their lives now stand as familiar, even beloved, representatives of their generation for a massive international audience.
“49 Up is a full, revealing social history. And yet that is not the source of its power. That, and its intense poignance, comes instead from the universal human story these lives tell. To see people ageing before our eyes, transforming from children into adolescents into adults into parents and now grandparents, is to witness the narrative of human life itself.” — Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian