Michael Apted, a versatile director known for the ‘Up’ series, has passed away at the age of 79

Michael Aptide, a versatile director whose films have been as diverse as the James Bond movie “The World Is Not Enough” and the biographical drama “Gorilla in the Mist” and “Daughter of the Coal Mine”, which left his most lasting imprint with the documentary series “Father”, which continued The life of a group of Britons in intermittent periods that lasted seven years for more than half a century, on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles, he was 79 years old.

His agent in the United States, Roy Ashton, confirmed the death but did not specify the cause.

Mr. Aptide, a British national, was a researcher at Granada TV in England when he helped select the 14 children, all 7, who became the subject of “Seven Up!” , The first documentary in the series “Up,” which he directed Paul Almond It was shown on British television in 1964.

The movie was intended to be a one-off, but Mr. Ebtde caught the ball seven years later (more or less), as the director of “7 Plus Seven”, which was broadcast in England in the late 1970’s as he did the same interview as Children, now on stage. More sophisticated than life.

Then came “21 Up” in 1977, and “28 Up” in 1984 and so forth, with new installments coming every seven years, all directed by Mr. Aptide. “63 Up” was released in 2019.

Collectively, the films became a serial picture of a group of ordinary people advancing in life, from childhood through adulthood, charting their different paths, changing different perspectives and destinies (one participant, Lynn Johnson, Died in 2013). New York times In 2019 It has been called “the most profound documentary series in the history of cinema”.

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The original 1964 program was intended to look at different parts of Britain’s caste system. Thanks to Mr. Aptide’s perseverance, “Up” has become something more.

He wrote in 2000: ā€œI realized for the first time, after 20 years in the project, that I had never made a political film. What I saw as an important statement about the separation system in English was really a humane document about real life issues.ā€

Manohla Dargis writes, summing up “63 Up” in The Times, “There is a lot of fun revisiting this series, and seeing who turns out to be okay and sometimes better than you expected or hoped.”

While visiting “The Up” periodically for six decades, Mr. Apted has worked in television and commercial films.

Agatha (1979), a fictional drama about novelist Agatha Christie, stars Vanessa Redgrave as the title role. Mr. Aptide achieved special success in the 1980s, starting in 1980 with the movie “The Daughter of the Coal Mine”, which revolves around country singer Loretta Lynn, played by Cissy Spacek, who won an Oscar for Best Actress.

The following year, “Continental Divide” was directed by John Belushi, the comedy film Blair Brown. Two years later, the crime drama “Gorky Park”, based on Martin Cruz Smith’s novel, appeared, starring William Hurt. In 1988 there was “Gorillas in the Mist”, the story of naturalist Diane Fauci. Her five Academy Award nominations included two nominations for Sigourney Weaver, who played Mrs. Fauci.

Mr. Aptide’s 1990s films included “Thunderheart” (1992), a thriller with Val Kilmer, and the drama “Nell” (1994), a vehicle by Jodi Foster. Then came his entry into the James Bond franchise – “The World Isn’t Enough” (1999), with Pierce Brosnan as 007’s agent.

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In a 2010 interview with The Times, Mr. Ubtd reflected on his lonely regrets about the “Up” series – because his initial choice of children was not balanced, 10 boys but only 4 girls – and how his choices for mainstream films may have been a way to make up for it.

“The biggest social revolution in my life originated in England,” he said, “was the change in the role of women in society.” We didn’t have civil rights and Vietnam in England, but I think that a certain social revolution is the biggest thing, and I missed not having enough women. And because I didn’t have enough women, I didn’t have enough choice about the options available to women who were building jobs, had families and all that kind of thing. “

And he continued, “Looking at everything from” Agatha “to” the daughter of a coal miner “and from” Neil “and” the continental divide “, it is all about the role of women in society and what women have to do to have a role in society, or “The choices women have to make to stay in society or have a voice in society, in direct and strange ways. This always piques my interest. This, I think, stems from the feeling that I have missed a bit.”

Alex Troup contributed to the reporting.

A full obituary will appear shortly.

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