The next installment of the Up Series is showing in the theaters (but I can’t find any place in the old Northwest Territory that is screening it). Here is how Randall Stephens describes the documentary:
. . . it’s time for another installment of the perennial favorite UP Series, which has followed the lives of over a dozen English men and women since they were 7. (The latest is running on PBS this month.) Granada Television first aired the program in 1964. Other updates came in 1970, 1977, 1984, 1991, 1998, 2005, 2012. The brainchild of Michael Apted, the series has tracked the participants hopes, fears, interests, successes, failures, and more. It ranks as one of the best, most original documentaries of the 20th century.
Fifty years ago Apted hoped to shine light on the deep class divisions in England and to see how that would shape the lives of these individuals as the grew into adulthood.
He adds this description from the Guardian:
What couldn’t have been predicted was that a programme devised with the modest intention of giving viewers “a glimpse of England in the year 2000″ would grow, over the years, into a candidate for the most affecting piece of television ever made. Births, deaths, marriages, divorces; mental illness; thwarted and realised ambitions; infidelity and its accommodation. That nothing extraordinary happened to the participants only made the series more profound, a dizzying and, at times, existentially terrifying examination of what it is to be alive, unfolding in a kind of emotional time-lapse photography.
People who have not had to wait every seven years for another edition of these British lives will have a different experience (just as the making of the documentary itself has has a Heisenberg-like affect on the lives of the subjects). But I can think of no other production that captures this well how our lives are works in progress (or regress). This is highly recommended for anyone (pastors, elders, parents, teachers) who believe and may be discouraged that a person’s current attitude, disposition, and circumstances will abide. Life goes on. People grow up. They (generally) remain resilient.