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THE Up Series

The New York Times: Onward, "Up"-ward with Apted
This long and thorough essay by film critic Vincent Canby, published to coincide with the release of 35 Up, praises Apted's longitudinal series as "... something that has no cinematic equivalent in longevity or scope." Canby provides synopses of some of the earlier films in the series and explores the fascinating insights and enduring appeal of the Up films, comparing the series with "superior fiction" in the sense that they tell the first-person stories of everyday life. (February 16, 1992)

The New York Times: Time-Lapse Lives: 42 Years in 10 Hours
Film critic A.O. Scott assesses the first five films in Up series and muses about what exactly it is that gives the films their cumulative power. (October 31, 2004)

Time: Keeping Up With the Seven Up
A long and extensive article, this Time magazine piece provides background on the Up series and serves as an excellent introduction to the entire enterprise.

Wikipedia: Seven Up!
The Wikipedia entry on the series is an excellent reference guide, providing short synopses of the lives of the participants and detailing the series' influence on them.

Dan Schneider on the Up Series
A very thorough and passionate review and analysis of the Up series by poet and writer Dan Schneider provides details on each participant during every installment of the series, ponders the larger sociological implications of the project and reflects on the Up series as an extraordinary work of art.

 

MICHAEL APTED

The New York Times: Watching While Time the Sculptor Shapes the Self
In December 1999, two Michael Apted films were released during the same week: One was 42 Up, the sixth installment in the Up series; the other was The World Is Not Enough, the 19th James Bond movies, which, as Apted points out, cost 240 times more to make than 42 Up. In this revealing article, which Apted wrote for The New York Times before the release of those two films, the acclaimed filmmaker reflects on the nature of time, how the past determines our futures and reflects on his own childhood and the journey that led him to making films. (November 14, 1999)

The New York Times: Filming Life, He Found His Own
Having just released 35 Up, Michael Apted, in this essay written for The New York Times, lays out the process of interviewing his subjects for each new installment in the series and chronicles the making of 35 Up. He also writes about other film series that have been inspired by the original Up series and how he has worked with American and Russian filmmakers as a consultant on their respective versions of his enterprise. Finally, in a charming section called "Apted by Apted," the filmmaker documents the major events of his own life at ages 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35. (January 12, 1992)

The New York Times: A Veteran Director, Delighting in Opposites
A profile of Michael Apted focuses both on his work in the Up series and on his commercial filmmaking, specifically his work on the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. Apted recounts the shock of being approached to helm the blockbuster and talks about the creative and technical challenges of making the film. (November 22, 1999)

KCRW: The Treatment: Michael Apted
Film critic Elvis Mitchell interviews Michael Apted about the Up series, the education system in the United Kingdom and how it has affected his subjects and the marking of time — on film. (November 15, 2006)

British Film Institute: Interview with Michael Apted
In this extensive interview, Jonathan Freedland of the British Film Institute talks to Michael Apted about the Up series. Apted provides fascinating insights into the genesis of the series, which he says began as a polemic with a very clear class agenda. He lays out his regrets with regars to the gender and class imbalance in the films, and he questions whether the films are primarily about the English social structure. He also talks about the two participants who did drop out of the series, the bonds he has created with the participants and the possibility of facing death in the next installment of the series. (December 2005)

On The Media from NPR: Longitudes and Attitudes
Forty-two years ago, Michael Apted began filming a group of seven-year-olds plucked from the extremes of the British class system. Since then, he has followed their lives with a new film every seven years. What began as a one-off BBC program has become one of the most important histories on film and a prototype for our reality-TV culture. Apted speaks to journalist Bob Garfield about the series. (October 6, 2006)

IndieWire: Apted Goes from 7 Up to 007
Michael Apted talks to IndieWire about whether technology has changed the Up series, his relationship with his subjects and what it's like to travel between the independent documentary world and the world of Hollywood. (November, 1999)





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There aren't many pieces of work, especially in film, that have the patience or the longevity or the time to honor the drama of ordinary life; and after all, the drama of what we all have to go through — children, jobs, marriage, the things that touch us — is the big drama of life, far more so than the drama of movies and television.”

— Michael Apted

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