While working on the BBC television documentary series The World in Action in 1963, director Michael Apted, in collaboration with Paul Almond, produced a feature-length study of 14 seven-year-old Britons. Titled 7 Up, the film drew its on-camera personnel from every part of the social strata. Apted and Almond invited the kids to expound extemporaneously upon their feelings, desires, and aspirations. Seven years later, the same 14 people were rounded up for Seven Times Seven, which brought their individual histories up to date. And so it went until 1991, with Apted, now working solo, updating his original 1963 documentary every seven years. In 1984, all existing chapters were bundled together into the British miniseries 28 Up. By far, the best of the updates, as well as the most optimistic, 28 Up was later boiled down to a 113-minute feature film. In both its series and featurized form, 28 Up is a fascinating social document; those who like cushioning themselves against disillusionment, however, are advised to bypass 35 Up (1991), wherein the 14 middle-aged subjects are a lot more fearful about their future than they'd even been before.
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