By C.J. Bunce
Forget about watching Downton Abbey one year behind viewers in England. Forget about getting Lost Girl one year after Canadians see it or Doctor Who weeks after the Brits see it (OK, actually we’re really jealous about all that). We’ve been excited about this news since we learned of the British release and first discussed Michael Apted’s new entry in his landmark series here at borg.com this past August. After seven months Michael Apted’s 56 Up is finally in theaters in the U.S.
What is 56 Up?
As I said back in August, if you were asked to determine what single piece of film should be put in a time machine to preserve what it means to be human for future generations, or to send a synopsis along with a new Voyager space probe to a distant world so they could learn about us, what would you select? For me, there is one documentary series that rivals all other documentaries and non-documentaries alike, that required so much thought, cooperation, and coordination over the years that it is amazing it was even possible. That series is Michael Apted’s Up Series. At a basic level, this true life tale of class and social inequality may very well be the closest we ever get to time travel.
Roger Ebert has called the series “an inspired, even noble, use of the film medium. No other art form can capture so well the look in an eye, the feeling in an expression, the thoughts that go unspoken between the words. To look at these films, as I have every seven years, is to meditate on the astonishing fact that man is the only animal that knows it lives in time.” It’s also on his list of the 10 greatest films of all time.
Check out our article from August to learn more background on Apted and his look at 14 British citizens from various classes as they grow and change every 7 years, with 56 Up the seventh installment in the series.
If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can stream the series now up to 49 Up and get caught up on what you’ve missed–or watch it again–before seeing 56 Up in the theater. And it’s available for purchase at Amazon.com. It’s engrossing, engaging, and addictive. Once you start, plan on watching it all. Apted suggests watching about 3 episodes per week, giving you time to think about each entry, but also keeping each installment close so you can digest them all together.
As for 56 Up, here are the initial release dates and participating theaters showing the film:
|Montreal, QC||Cinema du Parc||January 1 – 10, 2013|
|New York, NY||IFC Center||Opens January 4, 2013|
|Asbury Park, NJ||The Showroom||Opens January 11, 2013|
|San Francisco, CA||Mostly British Film Festival||January 17 – 24, 2013|
|Ottawa, ON||Mayfair Theatre||January 18 – 21 & 23, 2013|
|Los Angeles, CA||Landmark Nuart||Opens January 18, 2013|
|Amherst, MA||Amherst Cinema||Opens January 18, 2013|
|Winnipeg, MB||Winnipeg Film Group||January 23 – 26, 2013|
|San Diego, CA||Landmark Ken||Opens January 25, 2013|
|Hartford, CT||Real Art Ways||Opens January 25, 2013|
|Portland, OR||Cinema 21||Opens January 25, 2013|
|Chicago, IL||Music Box Theatre||Opens February 1, 2013|
|Wellfleet, MA||Wellfleet Preservation Hall||February 1 & 2, 2013|
|Boston, MA||Landmark Kendall Square||Opens February 8, 2013|
|Seattle, WA||Landmark Theatres||Opens February 8, 2013|
|Minneapolis, MN||Landmark Theatres||Opens February 8, 2013|
|Atlanta, GA||Landmark Midtown Art||Opens February 8, 2013|
|San Francisco, CA||Landmark Theatres||Opens February 15, 2013|
|Berkeley, CA||Landmark Shattuck||Opens February 15, 2013|
|San Rafael, CA||Smith Rafael Film Center||Opens February 15, 2013|
|Denver, CO||Landmark Theatres||Opens February 15, 2013|
|Washington DC||Landmark E Street||Opens February 15, 2013|
|St. Louis, MO||Landmark Theatres||Opens February 15, 2013|
|Bellingham, WA||PFC’s Limelight Cinema||Opens February 15, 2013|
|Philadelphia, PA||Landmark Ritz Bourse||Opens February 22, 2013|
|Cleveland, OH||Cleveland Museum of Art||February 22 & 24, 2013|
|Atlanta, GA||Lefont Sandy Springs||February 23 & 24, 2013|
|Anchorage, AK||Bear Tooth Theatre||February 25, 2013|
|Boise, ID||The Flicks||Opens March 1, 2013|
|Santa Fe, NM||The Screen||Opens March 8, 2013|
|Houston, TX||Museum of Fine Arts||March 15, 17 & 31, 2013|
|Columbus, OH||Wexner Center for the Arts||March 26 & 27, 2013|
|Madison, WI||Wisconsin Film Festival||April 11 – 18, 2013|
Here is a trailer for the film, with a glimpse of the film’s content:
Hopefully additional cities and theaters will soon be added to this list. Check out First Run Features’ website for updates. If you’re lucky enough to have a screening near you check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
We can’t wait!
Mr. Bunce is correct. The “7 Up” documentaries are a monumental achievement.
I won’t attempt to match the summary of the series that Mr. Bunce accurately describes. I have enjoyed every edition of this remarkable series. The series as a composite is an anthropological, social and cinemaigraphic tour de force.
To watch the evolution of each of the 14 children through more than four decades is a reminder of how the human condition changes, how social status has a lifelong impact, and how individuals respond to the different challenges they confront.