Videogum

21 Up: South Africa

I was perusing this week’s Netflix new releases when I noticed 21 Up: South Africa came out on DVD this week. It’s the third installment in the South African version of The Up Series, Michael Apted’s amazing documentary series following the same UK children every seven years since they were seven, in 1964. The Up Series experiment has been repeated in many countries, and they’re probably all good because the concept is genius (most are not available in the US), but the South African version sounds particularly moving:

Here, filmmaker Angus Gibson interviews 11 young people of various races and backgrounds as they turn 21. The result is an insightful look at how they’ve changed and the issues they face such as crime, race relations, education and the AIDS epidemic — which has killed three of the original 14 children.

If you’ve seen the original Up Series you know it’s unlike any other movie experience. Even though the South African version isn’t affiliated, this brilliant idea can’t really be overdone.