The Up Series

One Saturday in the late stages of my pregnancy -when mobility was at its lowest- I spent the entire day in the movie theater, in the same seat for over 10 hours.  Why would I sit for so many hours in a dark theater and then come back the next day for more?  What could have kept me captive for that long?  The Up Series. 


In 1964 Michael Apted a had a groundbreaking idea; follow the lives of a group of seven year olds by checking in on them every seven years.  The children were a cross section of different socioeconomic backgrounds, some male, some female and one bi-racial child.

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Because I was lucky enough to catch the series in it’s entirety I was able to watch as the children developed over the years all in a day and a half – it was a roller coaster of emotions.  From great leaps of achievement to devastating misfortunes, watching these people’s lives unfold was joyous and harsh all at once.

I left the theater thinking that Apted had genius foresight by being one of the earliest filmmakers to delve into the world of ‘Reality’, and that truth IS really stranger than fiction.  Real life is gritty and sad.  Are dreams all don’t come true….  But on the other hand, some of them do – I found myself crying for their victories and failures alike.

Watching the children grow into adults over the course of a day and a half really reminded me of the importance of living everyday.  Life doesn’t stop moving forward.

I’m posting this so long after I saw the movies because I recently went to see the latest edition 56 Up and all of the emotions surfaced again.

I highly recommend checking out the series.  I’m not sure if The Bloor St Cinema is bringing it back, but you can buy the DVD’s at Amazon.com

Here’s some of the first episode, 7 UP




p.s. if you haven’t checked out The Bloor Street Cinema and you like documentaries, you’re missing out!  GO!


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