In 1988 the British director Cynthia Beatt, who is based in Berlin, embarked on a journey into little-known territory. She filmed Tilda Swinton as they followed the Berlin Wall, capturing the inward-looking West Berlin and the over-the-Wall views of East Berlin. Today “Cycling the Frame“ is a rare historic document and Tilda Swinton, who was honoured with the Oscar last year, is one of the world’s most admired performers. In June 2009, Cynthia Beatt and Tilda Swinton re-traced the line of the Wall that once isolated Berlin from East and West Germany. “The Invisible Frame“ describes this journey, the print of a second foot, a Wall’s fall and 21 years later, through varied landscapes, this time on both sides of the former Wall. The stagnation of organic growth that characterized the areas separated by the Wall, is now replaced by unchecked nature and building development. The rhythmic interaction of fixed camera and tracking shots combine in a vibrant orbiting of Berlin, visually intertwining west and east. Tilda Swinton’s personal reflections are integrated as inner monologues and complete the film’s soundscape composed by Simon Fisher Turner, who collaborated with Derek Jarman and Tilda Swinton in the 80’s.
Amiable amble around notions of boundaries and borders, nominally that of the Berlin Wall, but Beatts’s survey takes in a more ruminative meander through travelogue pastoral and urban detritus in a discursive swirl around the theme of freedom. It’s essentially a more relaxed relative of the Robinson series in Britain.
Maps are such fake things. A map says time has frozen. But time goes on changing all the time. Walls come down. Walls are replaced by others. Perhaps not walls of oppression but walls of greed, finance, regentrifigation. History may erase traces but not memory. Fine picture from Cynthia Beatt and Tilda Swinton with a very apt dedication in the end. Well worth reflecting on.
It’s a fascinating idea for a film. Unfortunately it’s quite a tough watch as it can drag quite a bit. I think perhaps if it was about 40mins instead of 1hour it might have fixed that problem. Regardless… read review