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The Invisible Frame

In 1988 director Cynthia Beatt and the Tilda Swinton embarked on a filmic journey along the Berlin Wall to create the short film CYCLING THE FRAME (28', color, 1988). Riding her bicycle from the Brandenburg Gate to the suburbs, passying by lakes, fields, and checkpoints, Swinton retraced the concrete and oppressive structure encircling West Berlin, cutting through neighborhoods and buildings, seeming indestructible at the time. One year after filming, the Wall was opened and the process of reunification of Germany began.

More than 20 years later, in 2009, Beatt and Swinton reteamed and retraced their ride, but this time weaving through both sides of the fallen wall. THE INVISIBLE FRAME (60', color, 2009) depicts this poetic passage and reflects on history, memory and freedom.

Swinton's reactions and inner monologues, enriched with texts by Stevenson, Yeats and Akhmatova, and a soundscape by Simon Fisher Turner, create a deeply engaging and personal vision. Together these films offer a fascinating journey through time and bring a poetic and meditative view on one of the most important events of the 20th century.

"An unconventional pair of documentaries… a terrific record [of Berlin] at two periods in time."—DVD Verdict

"Playful, essayistic film, which leaves a deep and lasting impression in one's mind."—Anke Westphal, Berliner Zeitung

"Swinton fans will surely appreciate her unflappable company and literary insights (she recites works by Robert Louis Stevenson, William Butler Yeats, and Anna Akhmatova)…"—Video Librarian


Main credits

Beatt, Cynthia (film director)
Schlaich, Fried (film producer)
Swinton, Tilda (actor)

Other credits

Kamera, Ute Freund; redaktion, Inge Classen; musiker, George Maclean.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Cultural Anthropology
History (World)
US & Canadian Broadcast Rights
Western Europe


Berlin Wall; berlin; wall; documentary; swinton; cynthia beatt; tilda swinton; cycling the frame; East Germany; Stasi; branderburg gate; after the wall; film; video; DVD; "The Invisible Frame"; Icarus Films; "The Invisible Frame"; Icarus Films; ovid_ca

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