7 years later – again
Before there was Honey Boo Boo, there was “Seven Up,” Paul Almond’s groundbreaking 1964 film in which 14 British 7-year-olds discussed their lives, hopes and dreams for the future.
In 1971, Almond and Michael Apted had the brilliant idea to catch up with them, a ritual the filmmakers have continued every seven years since. The latest is “56 Up.”
The core participants have allowed viewers to drop in on their lives as they grapple with the cardinal concerns of their generation. “56 Up” is modestly upbeat, its subjects candid about their regrets, but also satisfied, even if the difference between resignation and contentment isn’t always clear.
Many of the protagonists are now on strong second marriages, their adult children mostly successfully launched. The anxieties about money, health, children, work and death that animate much of “56 Up” are banal but profoundly universal.
This is the stuff of reality television and Russian novels — and, every seven years, at least, of a compelling and moving film.
The DVD (First Run, $30) includes film critic Roger Ebert’s interview with Apted. “The Up Series” ($80), a seven-disc special edition, includes all eight films.
Learn a language
LaMP, or Lingual Media Player (free; www.lingualmediaplayer.com), is a neat Windows and online program for learning a new language through watching videos — one of the best ways to become more efficient in a foreign language. The program displays foreign language subtitles for any film you load into the media player or videos you select from YouTube.
As you watch the video, you’ll also see, in addition to the subtitles, a transcript of all the subtitles with their time marks, and you can set the player to pause after each subtitle to help you soak it in. Additionally, you can use Bing or Google Translate to confirm a subtitle’s translation instantly.
If you don’t have any foreign-language videos to use, LaMP can search YouTube or connect to a compiled list of YouTube videos with closed captions. The online version of LaMP has fewer features than the Windows version but is still a convenient way to watch and learn a language using YouTube videos.
It would be nice if there were a marker for each word as it’s being said, but overall LaMP is a great utility for the language learner.