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"42 Up"

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In 1964, Granada TV in England brought together fourteen children from multi-class backgrounds and made a documentary about them called 7 Up. Subsequently, Michael Apted, who began as a researcher on 7 Up, has gone on to film the subjects at seven-year intervals (with only two of the original fourteen eventually dropping out). 42 Up (at Film Forum), the latest installment, finds most of its participants in the drear comfort zone of middle age. (Veteran viewers of the series will be glad to know that the troubled Neil is less troubled and living in London.) Apted works material from the five previous shows into this one, and the back-and-forth within each character -- observed over a span of 35 years -- is both highly emotional and wearying. The grand, class-society-embracing conception of this film has become too rich for its narrow stylistic confines.


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