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A unique time travel experience, dealing
with an event that tore the world apart
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Up to THE BORDER – A personal view of the Berlin Wall

International version
(english, french, german, russian, spanish)
95 min, DCP/Blu-ray, Colour / B/W, stereo,
Germany 2012

"A great historical document"

    Wolf von Lojewski, TV journalist and author

"Heart-wrenching pictures that touched me deeply."

    Robert, school student, Grade 10, from Eisenach

About the film

It’s Sunday, 13 August 1961. All Berlin is in shock. A city, a country are being divided. The government of the GDR lay the foundation stone for the "ugliest monument in the whole world". The Berlin Wall. It tore families apart, divided couples and locked in people. The whole world look on in sympathy and shock.

And the people of Berlin and their visitors ban the unbelievable on film. They make their own documentaries about life in a changed environment, up close and personal. The collection of these historical documents, made up from hundreds of hitherto private amateur films (8 mm to 16 mm) describes in a haunting way how life changed within a single day on both sides of the Wall. These unique films had to be rediscovered for the public. They offer a hitherto unknown perspective on the divided city.

Claus Oppermann and Gerald Grote, filmmakers from Northern Germany, made their film on the basis of more than 250 films – 250 hours of raw material from private films from Germany, Austria and the US and have managed to produce a breath-taking, highly emotional work of art. Many private archives in Berlin and the rest of Germany opened their doors for the first time for this production.

The 95 min film "Up to THE BORDER" (with support of the FFHSH, the Film Foundation of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein ) is a spectacular form of time travel. Hitherto hidden, impressive film documents, filled with personal histories of people living to the East and to the West of the border, their parents, their children, of students, of young people – contemporary witnesses of all kinds in the divided Germany.

The documentary uses these specical, hitherto unknown documents and presents a private and personal view of the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, of everyday life at the German-German border, up to the emotional pictures of when the Wall fell down in 1989. Pictures never shown before; moving, almost forgotten stories. The directors Claus Oppermann and Gerald Grote, who have won numerous awards, want to use these private treasures to remind the audiences of a BORDER that went from the Baltic sea down to Bavaria, right through the middle of Europe.

"Thank you very much for this wonderful and important film. It’s marvellous!"

    Roland Foitzik, Federal Film Archive


Film poster