Final Images: The Up! Series
Seven Up! | 1964 | dir. Almond
7 Plus Seven [aka 14 Up] | 1970 | dir. Michael Apted
21 Up | 1977 | dir. Michael Apted
28 Up | 1985 | dir. Michael Apted
35 Up | 1991 | dir. Michael Apted
42 Up | 1998 | dir. Michael Apted
49 Up | 2005 | dir. Michael Apted
56 Up | 2012 | dir. Michael Apted
The final image of every film of The Up! Series (1964 - ongoing), a documentary series which has followed a group of British children from the age of 7 to the present, checking in on them every 7 years.
Every film ends with the same bit of footage of Jackie and her friends spinning upside down on a swing in an adventure playground, but somehow the footage never feels a bit the same, since every time the where-are-they-now montage leading up to it is so utterly different. The surface uniformity of the end of each film in the series serves to remind us that no final image actualizes meaning in itself; rather, each image imbues all other images with meaning through their arrangement.
In 21 Up, Apted adds a group shot of the children’s reunion at the age of 21, the only such reunion in the series. And in every installment, the announcer speaks the same final voice-over: “This has been a glimpse of Britain’s future.”
feature image credit Robert Haasch
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