Decades before The Real World and Big Brother forced viewers to watch how people live, there was Seven Up. The 1964 documentary visited 14 7-year-olds growing up in different parts of Britain and questioned how their social class would affect their status as they grew up. Every seven years, director Michael Apted revisits the subjects: This week, the eighth film in the series, 56 Up, has its D.C. debut. Almost half a century after viewers first met the students, this edition finds them in the depths of middle age, contemplating their next steps, and laughing about their continued devotion to this project many of them supposedly dislike. But despite the fact that these individuals have been on screen for a great part of their lives, they don’t feel overexposed and aren’t really celebrities. Each film seems more like a visit with familiar friends, sharing stories from the most remarkable and mundane moments of the past 50 years.
The film opens Feb. 15 and runs through the week at E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. $8–$11. (202) 783-9494. landmarktheatres.com.