"Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man," goes a Jesuit proverb, which the "Up" documentaries quote. Every seven years, Michael Apted interviews the same Britons to see how they have changed. "28 Up" is the fourth installment of the series--the interviewees are now each 28 years old. The children are now the men, or women. It's not necessary to have seen, or recall, the previous installments of the television series to watch this episode, because the filmmakers intercalate clips from previous episodes with the new scenes. Via film editors Kim Horton and Oral Norrie Ottey, "28 Up" stands well by itself. We're timely shown how the interviewees have changed. The proverb seems oft to hold true, but there are some surprises. Suzi, for example, was "very cynical" about marriage as a 21-year-old chain-smoker, but at 28 years old is a cheerful wife. Tony, however, said he wanted to be a cabby if he didn't succeed as a jockey--now he is a cabby, and he seems happy. Besides examining their individual lives, the series also examines the differences among socioeconomic classes in Britain. John, although he didn't participate in the show at 28 years old, made two interesting comments on class issues in previous episodes (viewed again here). He said it "doesn't mean because you sweep the streets you're any less valuable than someone who's running a huge corporation. Not everyone can be at the top. As long as people are happy at what they're doing." John is from the upper classes and attended a private school. He went onto say, "And this is what worries me about these new sort of invidious sort of class attitudes that certain subversive elements are introducing...." Class issues don't seem to bother most of the cast; most of them seem content with their role in society, as John advocated as the "greatest good that could be." Yet, John is also a bit of a snob. Contrastingly, Bruce is a socialist from the upper classes, and he is now teaching math in a public school. Women's role in family and society is another issue examined in the film. Jackie, Nick's wife, discussed how she and her husband might balance work with children. Jackie (a different one), Lynn and Sue are the program's three working-class women. They're all married now, and they characterized marriage as a partnership of equals. Jackie has decided not to have children, at least not yet. Inevitably, some of the interviewees are more interesting than others are. For example, Symon (who had the misfortune of being the last interviewed) was a bit boring. At 21 years old, he was working in a freezer room; he said, "I couldn't stay there for that long--my mind would go dead." He's still working there at 28 years old. It wasn't apparent to me that his mind had died, but perhaps the job has caused him to appear dull in this segment. Finally, Neil, lanky, serious-minded and depressed, is to me (and many other viewers) the most interesting person of the gang. Neil is now a tramp traveling around Britain. The most memorable sequence of the film is of Neil nodding nervously as he sits by a waterfront, discussing his life and past, hesitating often as he thinks about how to better articulate his thoughts, or to reflect on his thoughts before he is posed another question.
Biography / Documentary
Biography / Documentary
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Director Michael Apted interviews the same group of British-born adults after a 7 year wait as to the changes that have occurred in their lives during the last seven years.
December 26, 2019