Thursday, February 21, 2013
56 UP (2012) movie review
56 Up! (2012) d. Apted, Michael (UK)
Apted’s astonishing cinematic experiment, checking in with a disparate group of 14 British individuals every seven years, enters its eighth installment and like its subjects remains fascinating even as it settles into a more even keel and acceptance of life. There are still plenty of ups and downs, but we’ve passed the stage of young adult angst and mid-life crises, and entered a stage where one’s children’s problems become more a concern than one’s own. It’s an odd observation considering the entire series is structured upon reflection, of at once looking forward and backward, but this chapter feels more introspective and contemplative than any of its predecessors. Still, it’s exciting to see Peter Davies, who bowed out of his involvement after 28 Up, back on screen and entering a new chapter in life as a member of a new folk rock trio, The Good Intentions.
What’s also interesting is to hear many of the participants’ viewpoints on the series in general: Neil, who has grown from a funny, charming seven-year-old to a displaced homeless drifter to a city councilman over the past half century, seems particularly chagrined at the portrait painted and the assumptions made about his life. (“People say they know just how I feel. They don’t.”) Nick, a Physics professor at the University of Wisconsin, offers a much more bemused response, “When I watch these films, it’s not an absolutely accurate portrait of me. But it’s a portrait of somebody and that’s its value.”