35 Up (Apted, 1991)

An extraordinary transition piece within the series, 35 Up follows many of the orginal subjects, some dealing with a multitude of important life changes, most notbaly the death of a parent and providing for children as a single parent. There’s a sense of realization within the subjects at the progress of life and the sadness and excitement at seeing change occur. This film stands above the rest (except for maybe 21) because of the sheer amount of prior footage Apted uses to put each life in a particular perspective, showing an individuality and strength sustained over many years of living. Over the course of the series, the subjects have achieved a sense of self and understanding of the past that either helped, or in some cases been a detriment, each understand who they were in the past and why they are the people they’ve become. Astoundingly, many of them realize the fragility of their situation, none more so that Neil, who while still tormented about his purpose in life, has found a way to establish some sort of channel for creative activity. It’s astonishing to see these people at the age of 35, having now watched five films documenting their struggles, changes, and ever evolving paths.

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