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42 UP

Thirty-five years after the original 7 Up, director Michael Apted revisits the subjects of his documentary series; as heís done every seven years. Among them are Tony, Suzy, Symon, Nick, Paul and Jackie. Tony was unable to follow his dream of being a successful jockey and now drives a cab. Suzy is married with three children and working as a bereavement counsellor following her own loss. Symon has been divorced, remarried and has six children in all. Heís still coming to terms with his own fatherís decision to run out on him and his mother. Nick and Paul have both left the UK - Nick is a professor at an American university who still pines for the Yorkshire dales; while Paul is working as a bricklayer in Australia. Jackie is a single mother living in public housing outside Glasgow, struggling to make ends meet.

"Imitated but never bettered, the 7 Up series remains the most fascinating and compelling documentary series ever made. The reason is simple - it has a time line spanning 35 years and Apted has the trust of his subjects. Only four of the original 14 have dropped out and one, Simon, the boy raised in a foster home, has returned after refusing to take part in 35 Up. As well as the fascination of following lives from childhood to middle-age, it's also a remarkable study of the never-seen but ever-present figure of its creator and director. It's not every filmmaker who can jump from Hollywood features like Gorky Park, Gorillas In The Mist and Coal Miners Daughter to a social realist documentary series he initiated 35 years ago. Whatever else Apted has done or may do, his ability to bring the best out of his subjects out without exploiting them is true genius. "It's almost as if we owe him as much as he owes us," is how Tony, the likeable cockney lad who wanted to be a jockey has summed up his relationship with Apted. By now the question of what the 7 Up series proves doesn't really matter - sociological experiment about class structure or humanist exploration of basic needs, either way it is brilliant. The highlight of 42 Up is the next chapter in the life of Neil, the series' most moving character who dropped out and lived as a recluse for many years. His story alone is worth the price of admission and leaves you waiting eagerly for 49."
Richard Kuipers

"If the idea of EdTV appealed to you, see how much more compelling it can be in real life. While Michael Aptedís original idea was to see whether the 7 year olds of 1964 turned out to be the "shop stewards and executives" of 2000, heís created something much richer. Much like the narrative films of say Tony Richardson, the 7 Up series provides a warts-and-all social commentary of contemporary Britain. And itís all the more powerful because the backbone of each film is people telling their own stories. If you havenít seen any other films in the series, donít worry. In 42 Up, Apted provides ample flashbacks to fill in the backgrounds of all the people involved. Thereís a minor downside to this, that the film is over 2 hours long - but itís well worth staying with. Some of the stories are a little depressing at times; but theyíre also filled with courage, love and hope. This film provides what many actors, writers and directors strive for but few achieve - the shock of the real, the impact of truth on an audience. The disparate stories come together in a satisfying gestalt that says a lot more about society as a whole than about any of the individuals concerned. The influence of education, employment, and community policies is imprinted on the faces and the voices of them all. 42 Up isnít pulse-pounding excitement; but it is one of the most honest and insightful films youíll see this year."
David Edwards

"Since the 60s, British filmmaker Michael Apted has charted the lives of up to 11 men and women, who began as 7-year old children. Since then, we've seen Apted grow into a major Hollywood filmmaker (he's currently completing the new Bond film, of all things). As a director, Apted is the consummate craftsman, and can switch between documentary and narrative cinema with the greatest of ease. 42 Up is a fine example of the genre, a film that is more than just a dozen or so interviews. On a simplistic level, the film examines the changes in these characters' lives and how middle age has effected them. Apted is the keen observer, yet again, almost intruding on these people's lives, lives that have been fruitful, tragic or fulfilling. Yet, more than that, 42 Up is an extension of the director's overall concerns of British society. He's putting a mirror onto the British class system, as he exposes the differences in attitudes of these varying characters that stem from vastly different backgrounds. His film is about money, privilege and class, and it's fascinating to hear what his characters -a collective symbol of the disparate elements that make up British society - have to say about the changing Britain over four decades. The results are fascinating, at times very funny and often emotionally resonant. From the Cockney cabbie to the lawyers, 42 Up is an absorbing film that examines the microcosm that is British society, and poses the question: Is Britain still defined by social class? Apted's work is a mature and insightful film, yet also highly entertaining and consistently compelling, displaying an increased maturity on the part of the director. He may be a powerful director in Hollywood, but 42 Up shows us as much about its director as it does the society he takes great pains in examining. 42 Up is a superb and remarkable film all the way and one looks forward to his next chapter with great anticipation."
Paul Fischer

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See Paul Fischer's interview with director


42 UP <(PG)


DIRECTOR: Michael Apted

PRODUCER: Claire Lewis, Michael Apted

CINEMATOGRAPHER: George Jesse Turner

EDITOR: Kim Horton

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes



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