Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Gender Bender/Major lesbian content
Short Take: An androgynous Inuit orphan played by kd lang falls in love an older East German woman in a remote Alaskan town.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 1991
Duration: 95 min
Language: Germany/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Percy Adlon
Writer: Felix O. Adlon, Percy Adlon
Starring: Oscar Kawagley, Rosel Zech, k.d. lang, Chuck Connors

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SalmonberriesIf you are a fan of art movies, I highly recommend Salmonberries. The cinematography is stunning; the soundtrack featuring kd lang is beautiful; and it is a film with a complex and unexpected love story. (It’s also one that many dislike for its quirkiness and slow pace, but I think it just gets better with multiple viewings.)

Kotzebue (lang) is an androgynous Inuit orphan searching for her birth parents in an isolated town in Alaska. There she meets Roswitha (Rosel Zech, Aimée & Jaguar), an older East German woman who runs the public library and first assumes Kotz to be a boy. A woman of few words, Kotz strips nude to show that she is female.

Both are very lonely people without a sense of belonging, and somehow these very different women make a connection and bring acceptance, love and light into one another’s lives. Their relationship has a strange sensuality to it, and when they travel to Berlin after the fall of the Wall, Kotz attempts to make love to Roswitha. She resists, but there is such a strong emotional connection between the two that who knows what the future will bring.

The dvd includes commentary from lang and writer/director Percy Adlon discussing working with Zech and filming in such a remote location (leading lang to write many of the lyrics for “Ingenue“). Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) also appears in the film. (AB)