A woman who grew up in a small town in Alaska goes to the public library to try and find out who her parents were. She was brought to town as a baby in a cardboard box with "Kotzebue" on it... See full summary »
A woman who grew up in a small town in Alaska goes to the public library to try and find out who her parents were. She was brought to town as a baby in a cardboard box with "Kotzebue" on it, which is the name of the town and also the name of the family that founded the town. She eventually befriends the librarian, an East German immigrant who lost her husband while escaping from behind the Iron Curtain. They help each other try to find closure to the events in their past. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
k.d. lang admitted in later interviews that the experience of filming in Alaska informed the inspiration of her album "Ingenue", generally considered to be her finest work. See more »
Shortly before the end of the credits there is the following paragraph: 'No animals were killed exclusively for the production of this film. Furs were worn simply to depict the lifestyle of the native Inupiat culture.' See more »
The story of the film is not something to write home about; but its direction and editing makes you take note of the mastery of techniques in both the fields.
Take the example of the character of Roswitha's German brother: we are told he is deaf. Yet he speaks; literally and more with his nervous hands, his mournful attentive stance, they all speak volumes. It is not acting you spot but the deft, confident direction.
k d lang's theme song "Barefoot" is haunting and the more you hear it, it grows on you. But her performance did not evoke much response in me. I do not consider her performance to be great by any standards.
However Rosel Zech as Roswitha is pleasure to watch as she blooms from a cold person to a warm personality in the course of the film. Zech and Adlon have contributed much to the film as did Conrad Gonzales' editing. Gonzales and Adlon together have made electricity come alive on celluloid--electricity goes off during crucial scenes, electric neon lights buzz, electric surges in voltages create capture enigmatic scenes as still life...
Adlon's exteriors are predictably white; his interiors are dark, both in Alaska and in Germany. But there are brief moments when the dark interiors become white like a ritual, in a baptism of sorts.
Adlon's choice of actors intrigued me including the casting of Chuck Connors and k d lang. Why did he choose to make this film? What was the basis of the "salmonberries" storyline? Was it a book? It reminded me of Kurosawa making "Derzu Uzala" in old USSR. Both movies asked questions about roots of characters. Only Kurosawa was much better of the two. This is my first Adlon film but he has made me take note of a very distinct style of direction that cannot be ignored. Hollywood could learn a thing or two from this film which is so close to pristine European cinema.
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