I recently had the chance to watch 56up, a fantastic documentary about an experiment that has been ongoing for quite sometime where, starting from age 7, people have been interviewed every 7 years to see how they are progressing in their lives, their beliefs, their fears and their hopes for the future. Now, they are 56 years old.
Wikipedia describes the Up Series as:
The Up Series is a series of documentary films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. So far the documentary has had eight episodes spanning 49 years (one episode every seven years) and the documentary has been broadcast on both ITV and BBC. In a 2005 Channel 4 programme, the series topped the list of The 50 Greatest Documentaries. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child’s social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films material from those of the fourteen who choose to participate. The aim of the series is stated at the beginning of 7 Up as: “Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The shop steward and the executive of the year 2000 are now seven years old.”
In addition, Wikipedia says:
The premise of the film was taken from the Jesuit motto “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”, which is based on a quotation by Francis Xavier.
Watching 56Up led to some fantastic discussions about growth, life, and what you would do if you knew you would be interviewed about your life every 7 years. Does knowing your life will be monitored change how you will live it?
I definitely recommend watching this film. It’s not all happiness and good things, it’s a fairly realistic perspective on how people change through their life when they are faced with challenges. It makes you think, and I like that about a documentary.
Check out the trailer and tell me what you think. Would you participate in something like this?