I just saw this movie by Michael Apted. You can see it here.
Here is the synopsis of the film on the website I linked to:
In 1964, a group of British 7-year-olds were interviewed about their lives and dreams in a groundbreaking television documentary, Seven Up. Since then, in one of the greatest projects in television history, renowned director Michael Apted has returned to film the same subjects every seven years, tracking their ups and downs. POV, which presented the U.S. broadcast premiere of 49 Up in 2007, returns with 56 Up to find the group settling into middle age and surprisingly upbeat. Through marriage and childbirth, poverty and illness, the "kids" have come to terms with both hope and disappointment.This is an amazing series of films and it would be worth your time to see them.
My comments after the break.
First and foremost, I was struck at the number of times (I counted four in this film) that those that are being followed attack the policies of the Conservatives, starting with Thatcher, for how hard their lives have become. (If you know the work of Mike Leigh, this should not be a surprise.)
At one point, one of the females with arthritis has been told she is capable of working asks Cameron to find her a job then.
It is no surprise that all of these people at 56 are concerned about their parents who are still living. And, many of those who are grandparents provide necessary help to care for grandchildren so their children can work.
We are our brothers' and sisters' keeper. And, government is important in making one's life chances better or not.
Second, the importance of class is clear in the life chances of those that are being followed. It is no surprise that those born in a privileged setting who knew at 7 what they wanted to do succeeded, and those who weren't had very mixed outcomes in 50 years.
I wonder what the equivalent series of films would have been like over Americans over this same period. As someone who is now 63 and coming to terms with whether I have accomplished anything or not, I don't know.
Finally, I teach ESL. This semester I have students in my regional university in Missouri from China, South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan. I think about that for many their parents would have no idea that their children would be able to pursue a university education in another country. What kind of changes have they, and their parents have experienced, to make that possible?
If you have not seen any of these films, try to see them.
If you have, what do you think?