49 Up

Forty-two years ago, Michael Apted filmed a little gem he called "7 Up." It featured a group of seven-year-old children whom he gathered together and interviewed at a children's' park/zoo. This film isn't listed in Leonard Maltin's, so I am assuming that it was a BBC television feature and not considered a movie. Seven years later he tracked down the same children and called those updates "14 Up."

Every seven years, through one of the greatest sociological upheavals in the history of Britain, he filmed interviews with these same individuals. One boy dropped out after "21 Up" and it looks as though another will stop allowing her interviews when it is time for the "56 Up" episode, but "49 Up" contains snippets from all of the preceding collections. Hair, clothes, expectations, surroundings, all evolve over time, but the basic person- alities seem to hold true.

The Jesuits say, "Give me the child until he is seven and I will have the man." It is fascinating to see the man in the child and the girl in the woman as these human creatures evolve. This project covers the spectrum of classes, from two boys in a foundling home, to three boys who are clearly privileged. They didn't all remain in England. Some of the contemporary interviews take place in America and Australia! You can see the effects of institutionalization, heritage, tradition and long-standing personality traits.

Roger Ebert's half-hour interview with Apted is also insightful. It should be on any disc you get from whatever your source might be.

This isn't exciting, per se, but it IS engrossing. Give it a shot!