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Salmonberries (1991)

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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 »



, (screenplay)
3 wins. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley ...
Butch (as Oscar Kawagley)
Eugene Omiak ...
Wayne Waterman ...
Jane Lind ...
Alvira H. Downey ...
Wolfgang Steinberg ...
Christel Merian ...
Albert's Wife
George Barril ...
Bingo Attendant
Gary Albers ...
Tight Rope Walker


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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Du bist für mich das Wichtigste auf der Welt.




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 October 1991 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Percy Adlon's Salmonberries  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$96,717 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


k.d. lang got severe frostbite on her nose because of the extreme cold. See more »


When the pickup arrives, it stops with its right front tire on a coil of wire when seen from above. Then when seen from the front the wire is under the truck and the wire returns to under the tire. See more »


Roswitha: Thank you. You're welcome. My pleasure. You don't talk very much I guess. You're an Inupiat, or what?
Kotzebue: Russian.
Roswitha: Oh. What is your name?
Kotzebue: Kotzebue.
Roswitha: Your name is...
Kotzebue: Kotzebue. My people discovered this place.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Sung by k.d. lang
Music by Bob Telson
Words by k.d. lang and Bob Telson
See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful and vastly underrated
5 September 2008 | by (hamburg,germany) – See all my reviews

I think it's sad that this movie suffers from a shadowy existence under "Bagdad Café". I always found "Bagdad Cafe" to be dragging and weird, while "Salmonberries" is one of the most fascinating and extraordinary movies I have ever seen. Also after having watched it several times, it never loses its very strong appeal to me.

There are two very interesting and totally un-stereotypical main characters, which I both like very much in spite of their (or because of their?) quirkiness. They are played very well by k.d. lang and Rosel Zech. They both have interesting and touching life stories that are slowly revealed throughout the film. Both the revealing of their stories and the development of their unique relationship keeps you guessing where the film will go and keeps you interested.

The story itself is helped a lot through other things like the extraordinarily beautiful imagery of the film. The Alaska scenery is stunning but never cheesy. And anyone who ever saw this film will ever forget the image of Switha's bedroom with the sunlight shining through the glasses with the berries.

On top of that comes the equally beautiful and haunting song "Barefoot" sung by k.d. lang herself. It's amazing how you can hear how much the film inspired her as a singer and songwriter in the recording.

I honestly recommend to buy the DVD - also because in the Extras, there is a great interview, well it's more like a meeting, where director Percy Adlon meets with k.d. lang 11 years later and shares memories. Again, in k.d.'s thoughtful and insightful comments you see what an emotional film this was to produce.

I honestly can't imagine how anyone can find this film weak or boring. Of course there are minor flaws - Kotzebue's too sudden and strong change of character when they visit Berlin is the most obvious one - but this film always strikes a chord in me.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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