63-Up
June 13, 2019 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Michael Apted's 56-year-long documentary is back once again [previously] and [even more previously] and [hints of more previously before that]. 63-Up is the latest update on a group of 14 individuals filmed every seven years since their first appearance, aged seven in 1964.
posted by dogsbody (53 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
Omg ITS ALREADY THAT TIME - me, every new 7-up film release
posted by Dressed to Kill at 2:51 PM on June 13 [26 favorites]


First link is broken (missing tld). Second link is broken (missing f). Can we have a mod fix these?
posted by simra at 2:59 PM on June 13


This is very exciting! But I think even after fixing the first link you need an itv account to view it?
posted by gwint at 3:00 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I LOVE this series!!!
Time to binge the first seven episodes to refresh my memory.
posted by bookmammal at 3:05 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Is there any way to watch this series online outside of the U.K.?
posted by JamesBay at 3:12 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


[Fixed the links. Region restriction might indeed be a thing; maybe folks can pull in some other contextual links at least about the current film, whether or not a regionless stream is available?]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:13 PM on June 13


The only two things in recent decades I've seriously compared to world wonders (think Sid Meier's Civilization): all the mental and physical labor, and the financing and logistics that went into the Marvel Cinematic Universe's build-up to "Avengers: Endgame," and the Up series.
posted by kimota at 3:13 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I've been wondering when the next Up Series installment would come out, and am glad to see the project still continuing. It gets me emotional thinking about these now-much-older-than-me Britons who I first "met" as little kids while watching Seven Up! some years back. The influence on the participants, I gather, has been mixed at best, but as a long-term documentary series, it's been truly one of a kind.

In the U.S., I started watching the Up Series by borrowing DVDs from my local library, and then I think I streamed 56 Up on Netflix sometime after that got released. Not sure how to watch the latest one outside of the UK quite yet, but I'm guessing there will at least be a Region 1 DVD release at some point, and hopefully some sort of regionless digital option.
posted by rather be jorting at 3:22 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


A one-minute trailer for 63 Up can be seen here.

Scroll down underneath the trailer to read brief recaps about the participants, if you want a refresher without rewatching the other Ups in the series.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:27 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I guess this marks 7 years of me saying to myself "I should get around to watching 56 Up sometime..."
posted by Aznable at 3:34 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


I'm a little surprised there is another one, after the opinions some of the participants expressed in last two. That's great! At least for us.

I haven't seen the new one, but the concept is brilliant, the editing has always been artful, and I think I like the filmmakers' world view. I do remember that my first impression on watching the series for the first time long ago was how much nicer it was to be a working class kid in the UK in the '60s compared to being a working class kid in the US in the '80s. Not for everyone, I'm sure. But, at least, for many white boys. I really hope not to derail this into a hardship competition or a US politics discussion. But, as a young adult, I was genuinely surprised at how nice most of the poor kids' daily lives seemed and the resources they had access to, given what I was expecting based on the description on the cover of the video.

Actually, that was my second impression. My first impression was "that's an awesome playground!"
posted by eotvos at 3:44 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I'll be interested to see how this new one is, since I usually enjoy the subjects of the documentary series.

But I have never been impressed by Michael Apted's direction. He makes stylistic choices (and interview methodology choices) that are lacking.

It's still impressive that he's kept up with such a colossal project; there's a lot to be said for what may (and has already) come to fruition over time when the relationship between filmmaker and interlocutors span decades. All the same, the series could have benefited from new directorial insight. I don't know. I've always had mixed feelings about the execution of the Up series; but I look forward, every time, to seeing what's going on with the participants. Symon was always one of my favorites.
posted by nightrecordings at 3:47 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Oooh. I can't wait until I can see this. Like a lot of people, I have a love-hate relationship with the Up series. Apted seems like an asshole. It's such a missed opportunity that there are so few women, so few middle-class people, so few non-white people. I always feel like Apted is a little condescending towards all the women and working-class male participants, and he's a little contemptuous of the upper-class participants. I'm not sure he actually respects anyone, other than the mathematician who grew up on the farm and the teacher guy who surprisingly turned out not to be gay. (Nobody ended up being gay, right? Not their fault, but that's a missed opportunity. It sort of feels like they missed a lot of big social movements, partly due to chance and partly due to their weird biases in choosing participants.) I sort of love this thing in spite of itself. And I'm going to miss Lynn, who was one of my favorites.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:52 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


A one-minute trailer for 63 Up can be seen here.

Whoops, got something in my eye at work... weird how that happens...

Just came across this New Yorker piece about 56 Up, which addresses some additional details about the participants, the different (and sometimes very condescending) ways Apted treated the different participants, and how the project evolved past Apted's initial aims.
posted by rather be jorting at 3:55 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


(Nobody ended up being gay, right?)

...the series isn't over yet.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:04 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


I've seen all the Ups (I think? It's kind of like the Saw franchise where if you miss one, that's probably okay, because there's so much previous material included in each one), and I will probably see this one when I can in the USA. When I watched 7 Up, I thought it was fascinating, my interest dipped in the middle somewhere, and at this point, I'm still rather interested in revisiting these people's lives- but I think what keep me interested the most are thoughts like "Okay, how does this franchise end? What does the last Up movie look like? If Apted dies after [N] Up, will/should there be a [N + 7] Up? Or would [N] Up be the last one?"
posted by 23skidoo at 4:06 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I love this series. It's so poignant.
posted by rue72 at 4:11 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Years ago in London I had a chatty cab driver who insisted that we was a movie star. Just figured he was a bit nutty until he showed us video compilation on YouTube, subsequent research showed he was really a subject of the 7 Up series. All this time I still haven't gotten around to watching the films, but definitely putting on my list..
posted by thirdring at 4:26 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


A one-minute trailer for 63 Up can be seen here.

Whoops, got something in my eye at work...


Same. In a weird way it was like seeing distant relatives I hadn't seen in awhile...
posted by gwint at 4:43 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


thirdring—that must have been TONY, right?!?
posted by bookmammal at 5:05 PM on June 13


Hey thirdring, I met the same guy last year. I still need to watch these, or at least the first one.
posted by gamera at 5:19 PM on June 13


rather be jorting, that New Yorker piece is really interesting. Thanks!
Apted has said that the subject with whom he most closely identifies is Nick, the precocious farm boy who goes to Oxford and thereafter moves to America with dreams of making an advance in nuclear physics, only to abandon his research and become a university professor.
Hmm. That stings a bit. Being senior faculty at Madison isn't exactly a bad career outcome. It is a slight change of research topic from what he intended at the age of 21, perhaps. I'm not convinced the author actually understands Nick's job. But, that doesn't detract from the rest of the article, which is quite interesting.
posted by eotvos at 5:52 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


I signed up for an account and it says the video isn't available now. WTF. What does that mean?

Also, how many episodes are there going to be, because there are only 3 up now.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:55 PM on June 13


Is there any way to watch this series online outside of the U.K.?
posted by JamesBay


JAMES! JAMES, IT'S YOUR COUSIN, PIRATE. YOU KNOW THAT NEW SOUND YOU WERE LOOKING FOR?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:01 PM on June 13 [44 favorites]


Also, how many episodes are there going to be, because there are only 3 up now.

There's only going to be 3, according to the description on the "one minute trailer" page:
Across three films, 63 Up reveals more life-changing decisions, more shocking announcements and joy and tears in equal measure.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 6:33 PM on June 13


After the last one, it seemed like a fair number of the "children" had had their fill of doing the films, so I'm a little surprised (but not the least bit unhappy) that they agreed to do one more. I can't imagine, though, that there will be a "70-up".
posted by briank at 6:41 PM on June 13


I've watched all of these, every time they come out, and it makes me sad how after 35 everything just seems fixed....I guess it's like life on literal fast forward...the exuberance of youth and the sort of realism of what comes after. Nothing beats 7 year old Tony the cabdriver on the playground.
posted by bquarters at 7:25 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


To further talk about the New Yorker article mentioning Nick- it's not his job aspirations being unfulfilled that is the focus of that mention of him...it's the idea that by setting off to achieve something in America- he also lost something in his connection to his family, home, and roots- some part of himself. He seemed kind of lost literally, in that respect. But I'm noticing that because that's the part I relate to- and that's the beauty of those films, and I think why they resonate. The human experience and all that....across the social and economic and even geographic lines.

But to rant about current times, I would rather be able to go and see this in the theater, it doesn't seem accessible in the US right now... and I already have 35 years invested in following these people/this series!
posted by bquarters at 7:47 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Final comment- I just watched the one minute preview someone listed above and started streaming tears...this 7up now 63 up really has an effect on me.
posted by bquarters at 7:55 PM on June 13


For those in Australia, it is available on SBS's on demand service. And 28 Up and later as also available to stream. Earlier ones were there, but it looks like they have expired. [edit: it looks like the earlier ones are also there if you look further down the page.]
posted by drnick at 7:59 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I HAVE BEEN WAITING
posted by not_on_display at 8:27 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


It's a profound series of movies, but I also find them very, very sad. Yes, I will tear up a bit.
posted by xammerboy at 8:59 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


xammerboy, totally agree.

Even just watching this short clip of Neil (from age 7 to 49) messed me up, remembering this cheerful little kid who, at the age of 35, could only see himself continuing to be homeless in 7 years time - and then seeing him make it to 42 (no longer homeless!), 49, and now to 63!

I found this recent Guardian interview with Neil and it's an immensely humbling and poignant read. The last two paragraphs especially.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:59 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


I watched all three episodes in an evening last week. I'd expected to fast forward more than I did, and in fact I watched almost all of it. I'd assumed I'd mostly be interested in Tony & Neil - who were obviously highlights, but all of them had their interesting points.

It's striking that there were so few women, only one non-white, and this becomes more apparent as the series progresses.

Also, sparky kids often make reserved adults.
posted by DanCall at 1:44 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Those who find this series to be too 'vanilla' may prefer the South African version, available on Al Jazeera
posted by McNulty at 2:07 AM on June 14 [13 favorites]


I loved it just as much as the others. I sobbed during that one bit (well, quite a few bits actually) and I continue to be so grateful for this glimpse into other people's lives without it feeling like an intrusion or a game.

As always, I'll recommend a similar documentary series by Gillian Armstrong which follows three Australian women from 14 to 47 and is equally as fascinating.
posted by h00py at 3:26 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Only 3 more years until the next installment of Linklater's Before series is due. If they make one.
posted by Badgermann at 6:40 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I'm slightly younger than the subjects, and they're the same age as my older brother, who died at 31. So I relate to this group in some way and feel like I'm watching my own aging.

One thing I like about the series is that I passionately hate generational stereotypes (boomers, gen X, millenials, etc.), and I think this shows how simplistic those are. As a boomer myself, I notice a lot of "boomers had it easy" comments in the media (as well as some casual ageism on this site - which the mods don't seem to care about), and while "boomers" is, of course, a US-centric term, I think this shows how people of all generations can struggle, how some have more advantages in all time periods, and how people are all just figuring out how to make their own way.
posted by FencingGal at 7:03 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


sparky kids often make reserved adults

Adults and other kids tend to put out fires before they get a chance to start.
posted by davejay at 7:49 AM on June 14


> Is there any way to watch this series online outside of the U.K.?
posted by JamesBay

JAMES! JAMES, IT'S YOUR COUSIN, PIRATE. YOU KNOW THAT NEW SOUND YOU WERE LOOKING FOR?


This may seem unbelievable, but I don't torrent.
posted by JamesBay at 7:54 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Only 3 more years until the next installment of Linklater's Before series is due. If they make one.

I'm the same age as the characters (and the actors playing the characters) and so the movies have really resonated with me. Although god help me if they don't find a solution to their forty-something relationship troubles by investing in real estate or something.
posted by JamesBay at 7:56 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Re the points on ethnicity - in 1961 (3 years before the series started) the non-white population of the UK was 384,000 versus a total population of about 41 million. So in that sense the demographics of the film is reflective of that particular age group.
posted by plep at 8:32 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I'm looking forward to watching this because every new installment is so unexpected and illuminating, but I don't have a lot of patience for Apted. So many of the interviews with the women are just crawling with condescension and sexism. That interaction with Nick's girlfriend in 21 or 28 Up where they kept asking her about who would take care of the kids and portraying her as this bitch for the completely reasonable pushback she gave them... yuck.
posted by oryelle at 8:41 AM on June 14


Global versions of the 'Up' series, from South Africa to Japan to the ex-USSR, are listed here.
posted by plep at 9:11 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


the teacher guy who surprisingly turned out not to be gay

He's not gay? I thought I had so called it (only seen as far as 28-up). But he is still lovely - of all the people, I thought I would most like to be friends with him or the mathematician. Maybe that's the director's bias, maybe we just share biases. I also really felt for the guy who ended up homeless at one point - I have wondered whether he has had mental health issues (like me) that the films haven't touched on or perhaps he didn't wish to talk about. Because he's quite thoughtful, but also has struggled so much.
posted by jb at 9:14 AM on June 14


only to abandon his research and become a university professor.

That sentence doesn't make any sense. University professors are (with very few exceptions) engaged in research. That's how they get to be professors, unless they were hired to be a special kind of teaching track - and even they are often expected to be still publishing.
posted by jb at 9:17 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's a weird sentence - I'm guessing the author was trying to note Nick abandoned his nuclear physics research (rather than all research) and became a university professor in a different field (electrical and computer engineering)? Seems like some words were skipped there.

McNulty, thanks for linking to the South African series on Al Jazeera - been wondering about it since I read reenum's comment in the previous 56 Up thread.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:42 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I think what also seems strange is that Nick is by an reasonable standards extremely successful as an academic. But his life now is being compared with what he thought he could accomplish when he was much younger. Most people change their goals as they get older, often becoming satisfied with less than they thought they could achieve. It makes me glad my life today isn't being contrasted with a film of me talking about my plans when I was 21.

Here's some interesting stuff on Nick's academic career from an an article in Physics Today:

Then he “got scared off by the staggering problems” facing fusion energy production, and switched to computational plasma physics. He’s been on the Madison faculty since 1981, and his work these days involves calculations of confined plasmas for such things as spacecraft propulsion and modification of semi-conductor surfaces. Despite having three books and nearly 70 papers to his credit, Hitchon says that “it’s hard to imagine what I could do professionally that would be as notable as being in these films.” Every now and then, he adds, “Michael [Apted] asksme what I do. When I try to explain, his eyes glaze over.”

posted by FencingGal at 10:29 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


He's not gay? I thought I had so called it (only seen as far as 28-up). But he is still lovely - of all the people, I thought I would most like to be friends with him or the mathematician. Maybe that's the director's bias, maybe we just share biases. I also really felt for the guy who ended up homeless at one point - I have wondered whether he has had mental health issues (like me) that the films haven't touched on or perhaps he didn't wish to talk about. Because he's quite thoughtful, but also has struggled so much.
Nope, Bruce got married to a woman between 35-Up and 42-Up, which was surprising, because I thought he was probably gay. And Neil definitely has some mental health challenges, but 28-Up is his low point, and he's in a better place in the subsequent ones.

I watched the first three installments of the South African one, and they're good. They're a little bleak, though: several of the original kids died before the South African 21-Up was filmed. I didn't realize that South African 28-Up was out. I'll have to watch that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:35 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Thanks, ArbitraryAndCapricious - after posting, I also read the NYT article on 56-up, and it referred to Neil's mental health challenges. As I mentioned, I've only seen 7 through 28, and I don't recall anything explicit being said. But I have had similar issues, and I thought I saw something like my own experiences in his life. I should get around to watching the subsequent films - it's just that I was bingeing a little on them, and they can get very repetitive (and so much longer with each iteration, given that they always have clips from the earlier films).

As for Bruce: well, he could be bi - you can't tell based on the gender of someone's partner. But maybe he's just a gaydar-foil - I have a friend like that (most fabulous straight man I've ever met), throwing off the signals like aluminum foil on a satellite dish, to remind us all that queer and not-queer people can be like anything.
posted by jb at 11:43 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Every now and then, he adds, “Michael [Apted] asks me what I do. When I try to explain, his eyes glaze over.”

That's a shame. I often don't really understand what my mathematician or physicist friends are saying when they talk about their research, but I make an effort to listen attentively, and try to puzzle perhaps a bit out.
posted by jb at 11:45 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I haven't clicked any of the links yet but my first reaction -- as it is every seven years -- is just please, please, please let Neil be in an okay place.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:05 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I'm not convinced the author actually understands Nick's job

Maybe you haven't seen the series? As I recall, Nick was very committed to fusion research he rhought would be an important breakthrough and it was a serious blow for him when the research money went away and he needed to stop doing something he thought might have a worldwide impact.
posted by aught at 1:25 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


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