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Up: The Classic Documentary Series
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1.

28 Up Part 1 [electronic resource]: U.K.

After three previous installments, each one covering a particular stage of human growth and development, the Up series expanded its approach and turned age 28 into a multi-part episode. It's also worth noting that a revised version of the original 7 Up program was created, offering viewers new voice-over narration and additional content. Here, the re-edited 7 Up functions as an in-depth look back at early childhood and as a splendid stage-setter for meeting the participants at age 28 (which happens in items 51879 and 51880). Revisiting the 1964 classic reminds us once again of how absorbing, multifaceted, and changeable each of these personal journeys has been and how difficult it is to predict the life-path of any child-even in postwar, class-dominated Britain.
Online
1984
2.

21 Up South Africa [electronic resource]: Mandela's Children

This documentary follows on from "Seven Up South Africa" and "14 Up South Africa." Filmmaker Angus Gibson returns to the 20 children he interviewed in his original films, learning that although the political struggle has given many of them opportunities their parents were denied, a tragic story has emerged. The youngster's biggest battle has been the war against AIDS and not all of them have survived.
Online
2006
3.

7 Up [electronic resource]: U.K.

Some are ambitious - Peter and Neil want to be astronauts. Some are idealists, such as Bruce, whose solemn but misguided plans involve missionary work in "uncivilized" Africa. Then there's Lynn, who has her sights set on a job at Woolworth's. But the children in this classic 1964 documentary profess far more than sweetly malformed professional goals. At 7 years old, they display the same capacities for emotional frailty, social awkwardness, and spiritual uncertainty found in any adult. Viewers are introduced to 14 wide-eyed youngsters who will develop, as the ongoing British series illustrates every seven years, in ways that are puzzling, courageous, sad, and joyous. In this first glimpse, however, they suggest a mysterious disconnect - one that hovers between the possibilities of an [...]
Online
1964
4.

14 Up [electronic resource]: U.K.

Also known as 7 Plus Seven, this film pushes beyond its predecessor and, as all subsequent Up installments do, makes extensive use of footage from it. Viewers are therefore able to compare the teen phase with the 7-year-old one as a dozen-plus youthful participants struggle to articulate their states of mind. A few subjects, such as the bespectacled Nick and rather petulant Suzy, seem wholly unwilling to face the camera's gaze. From the trio of wealthy boys, however, there is more revelation, mostly in matters of politics and business, while the three working-class girls - Jackie, Lynn, and Sue - touch on those areas as well, in their own ways. Meanwhile, Tony appears to inhabit his own personal dreamscape, in which he may or may not become a jockey at Epsom Downs. This is the first [...]
Online
1970
5.

Born in the U.S.S.R. [electronic resource]: 21 Up

I will always be Russian, says Andrei, showing the camera a handful of cherished photographs from his homeland. Even so, he has adjusted commendably to the strange new world of America, its unwieldy political culture, and the quandary of pursuing college or jumping into the business world. Back in the former Soviet Union, twins Stas and Dennis have begun to take separate paths in life, with one prospering as a sailor and the other waiting tables for a pittance. Meanwhile Rita has supposedly recovered from a bout with mental illness, but, perched on the shore of her beloved lake, she insists on making secretive predictions about "something big" in the offing. Such are the narratives running through this episode in the Russian version of the Up chronicles. Thanks to generous portions o [...]
Online
2005
6.

14 Up [electronic resource]: Japan

Expanding on the Up series produced in Great Britain, which starts with a group of seven-year-olds and revisits them every seven years, the Up: Japan chronicle focuses on 13 youth living in different parts of Japan. In this program, which captures the subjects at age 14, they are asked to talk about their lives, families, and future with the same honesty and frankness displayed in the original British production. Counteracting the percieved homogeneity of Japanese society, the circumstances of these young people are vastly different from each other. Some, such as Eri and Maki, live in politically sensitive areas like Okinawa, near a U.S. military base. Sanae lives near the disputed Kuril Islands, while others like Yoshio and Mitsukatsu carry the heritage of two different ancestral cu [...]
Online
2000
7.

21 Up [electronic resource]: U.K.

Hardly the last or least of the Up episodes, this is nevertheless the final one to include all fourteen of the series' original subjects. Charles, ending his participation, has assumed a long-haired look standard for youthful whites of the 1970s, while Symon, impressive in his afro and mustache, idolizes Muhammad Ali. Jackie and Lynn are both married. Sue is single and employed at a travel agency, but a more stark contrast to working-class matrimony comes from Suzy, now an unconcealed enemy of marriage after her parents' divorce. Nick is studying nuclear physics at Oxford. John, for his part, has settled into a comfortable, affable conservatism, which his two upper-class cohorts echo or deflect from scene to scene. Unfortunately for Tony, his ambition to become a jockey did not pan o [...]
Online
1977
8.

Age 7 in America [electronic resource]

Affiliated with the Up series from British director Michael Apted, this film details the lives of 7-year-olds from varying social classes and ethnicities across the United States. Luis lives in New York City's Lower East Side. He lives in a homeless shelter. Lucy, Alexis, and Kate live on the Upper East Side and attend a prestigious private school. Ashtyn lives in a middle-class suburb of Lincoln, Nebraska. LeRoy and Kennisha live in apartments that are part of the Robert Taylor housing project on the South Side of Chicago, while Douglas, Vicky, and Mike live in one of the city's traditionally working-class, Polish communities and Eric and Brandon are from a wealthy suburb. Joey, a Jehovah's Witness, lives in rural Georgia, while Salina, Julio, and Michael evoke the racial and ethnic [...]
Online
1991
9.

14 Up in America [electronic resource]

The second installment of the U.S. version of the classic British documentary series, this film updates viewers on the children featured in Age 7 in America. It follows the young subjects seven years later as they come to terms with adolescence, facing new challenges relating to school, violence, financial status, and family and divorce. In Chicago, LeRoy and Kennisha still fear violence and gangs, although Kennisha's family has moved out of the housing project and is enjoying a precariously improved quality of life. In New York, Lucy, Alexis, and Kate still benefit from a privileged lifestyle but it is marked by its own brand of stress and tension. In Los Angeles, Julio is growing up fast - his scenes reveal a young man bent on self-determination and an awareness of the need to "str [...]
Online
1998
10.

14 Up [electronic resource]: South Africa

Spotlighting the age of 14, this program continues the South African version of the famed British documentary series Up, in which participants are featured every seven years speaking about the society around them. From Capetown to Durban to Soweto, viewers reenter the lives of each youthful subject to learn about his or her goals, dreams, fears, and frustrations. Dramatic political changes have taken place in South Africa since the last episode was filmed, and it is clear that many of these young people are undergoing a transformation as well. Some are rethinking what they believe is possible or impossible in the future. Others are coming to terms with the darkness of the nation's past and their own previous attitudes, as when Willem looks back on his racist comments of seven years a [...]
Online
1999
11.

7 Up [electronic resource]: South Africa

As you know, says Bonita, "whites are people too." The 7-year-old daughter of a Zulu chief in rural Natal, she beguiles the camera with quiet authority: "You see, there is only one difference between us. They speak English and we speak Zulu." Bonita is one of 19 children featured in this South African version of the famed British documentary 7 Up, in which young participants speak from their hearts about the society around them. Luyanda and Andiswa live in a hostel for migrant workers near Capetown. Lunga attends a "mixed" school in Durban and lionizes Nelson Mandela. With only a squatter camp in Soweto to call home, Thembasile and her grandmother subsist without electricity or running water. And what of the white children in the group? Their attitudes are often a far cry from Bonita [...]
Online
1992
12.

Born in the U.S.S.R. [electronic resource]: 7 Up

Shot two years prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, this program emulates the 7 Up documentary model in which a group of children reveal their thoughts and feelings on camera. The Russian participants introduced here include Anton, a Moscow boy who precociously foreshadows a coup in his nation's political future; twins Stas and Dennis who live in an industrial suburb of Leningrad, now St Petersburg; Asya, also a Leningrad citizen, who shares a small apartment with her mother and grandparents; Tanya, who laments the lack of retail choices in her country and whose mouth waters, almost literally, over a Western mail-order catalog; Almaz, who lives in a factory workers' hostel in the capital of Kyrgyzstan; Rita, who dwells on the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the world; a [...]
Online
1991
13.

Born in the U.S.S.R. [electronic resource]: 14 Up

Brokenhearted, twins Stas and Dennis have lost their father. Following a modest funeral, which their mother could only arrange by borrowing money, they allow their feelings to seep out tearfully for the camera. Rita's village has become a tourist attraction and her father runs a pleasure boat for out-of-town visitors. She is also hospitalized for an illness that no one seems willing to discuss. And Andrei has moved to the United States, having been adopted by an American family. Somewhat mischievously, he shows off his toy bird cage - a possible metaphor for his new situation, although his homesickness isn't immediately apparent. Such are the post-Soviet-era stories running through this installment in the Russian version of the Up chronicles. Thanks to interwoven archival footage, vi [...]
Online
1998
14.

21 Up [electronic resource]: Japan

Modeled on the Up series produced in the United Kingdom, which begins with a group of seven-year-olds and revisits them every seven years, the Up: Japan chronicle focuses on 13 youth living in different parts of Japan. In this program, which rejoins the participants at age 21, they are asked to talk about their lives, families, and future with the same honesty and frankness displayed in the original British production. Contradicting the perceived homogeneity of Japanese society, the circumstances of these young adults are vastly different from each other. Some, such as Eri and Maki, live in politically sensitive areas like Okinawa, near a U.S. military base. Sanae lives near the disputed Kuril Islands, while others like Yoshio and Mitsukatsu carry the heritage of two different ancest [...]
Online
2007
15.

28 Up Part 2 [electronic resource]: U.K.

After three previous installments, each one covering a particular stage of human growth and development, the Up series turned age 28 into an epochal study - one that required three separate parts in order to tell its ongoing stories. This film, the second portion of 28 Up, focuses on several participants as they reflect on their current situations in life. Career obstacles, financial challenges, and the complexities of personal relationships - those that thrive as well as those that have been neglected or broken apart - become, in each unflinching scene, the stuff of riveting documentary cinema. As with all Up episodes produced after the first one, the program includes plenty of footage taken from earlier years so that viewers can easily compare the different stages.
Online
1984; 2013
16.

28 Up Part 3 [electronic resource]: U.K.

After three previous installments, each one covering a particular stage of human growth and development, the Up series turned age 28 into an epochal study - one that required three separate parts in order to tell its ongoing stories. This film, the third portion of 28 Up, focuses on several participants as they reflect on their current situations in life. Career obstacles, financial challenges, and the complexities of personal relationships - those that thrive as well as those that have been neglected or broken apart - become, in each unflinching scene, the stuff of riveting documentary cinema. As with all Up episodes produced after the first one, the program includes plenty of footage taken from earlier years so that viewers can easily compare the different stages.
Online
1984; 2013
17.

35 Up [electronic resource]: U.K.

In this program, the longitudinal Up series offers an in-depth look at its participants at age 35. John appears with his wife alongside him, while touting a new promotional goal of bringing aid to Bulgaria, his mother's birthplace. Ostensibly a worthwhile and charitable cause, his project nevertheless raised questions about the purpose of his involvement in the film. Tony's segment, also filmed with his wife, features more down-to-earth topics; the former boisterous youngster is now in the early phase of middle age and speaks with astounding frankness about his infidelities and family life. Of the three working-class women, only Lynn is still married, while Sue and Jackie have both divorced and Jackie, now a bartender, has a son from an unmarried relationship. Andrew has two sons, Ne [...]
Online
1991; 2013
18.

42 Up [electronic resource]: U.K.

Now firmly in midlife territory, the Up series depicts the daily and long-term challenges its participants face at age 42. Do they even remotely resemble the youngsters of 7 Up, or are those wide-eyed children unrecognizable now? Did the Jesuit maxim on which the series was founded - Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man - prove baseless, too speculative, or does it have some merit? Viewers can judge for themselves as Symon talks about his mother's passing and how he regrets his lack of career ambition...as Tony's family leaves the East End for middle-class suburban environs...and as Jackie reflects on having more children out of wedlock and being dependent on her former mother-in-law. Nick has found success in America, although probably not to the extent th [...]
Online
1998
19.

56 Up: U.K.

Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man. Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, The UP Series has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted, returned to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives. From cab driver Tony to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the enigmatic Neil, as they turn 56 more life-changing decisions and surprising developments are revealed. An extraordinary look at the structure of life in the 20th century.
Online
2015; 2012