The documentary, 35 UP, is part of a continuing series that began with 7 UP in which British director Michael Apted follows the lives of several persons (14 all together) every seven years beginning at age seven. The documentary film contains surprises, reversals and tragedies, and turns out to be endlessly fascinating.
The documentary series that began with interviews with British children in 7 UP, followed them through adolescence in 14 UP, youth in 21 UP, and adulthood in 28 UP, now comes to 35 UP. Not all the fourteen original subjects have agreed to be interviewed again. However, in director Michael Apted’s able hands, 35 UP is so spare and incisive that even the gaps in the story tell a story. Each segment begins with footage of 7 UP, then zigzags among the other films. The result is a series of portraits that combine a documentary’s precision with the weight and depth of good fiction. Sometimes the children predicted their own destiny. For example, Nick the farmer’s son who at seven wanted to know about the moon, is now a physicist. However, there are also plenty of surprises. Bruce, at seven, wanted to be a missionary. At thirty-five, he teaches at a London High School. The Study’s most heart-breaking case of lost promise is Neil. Outstandingly winsome and handsome at seven, by age twenty-eight, Neil was a derelict. At thirty-five, he says, “When I started believing, things became clearer” (the camera scans a shelf of Judeo-Christian titles including Colson’s BORN AGAIN). In all, 35 UP contains surprises, reversals and tragedies, and turns out to be endlessly fascinating.
(L, H, B, C) 2 profanities and humanism mixed with some biblical insights and some favorable references to Christians.