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Salmonberries (1991)

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 »


Percy Adlon


Percy Adlon, Felix O. Adlon (screenplay co-written and translated from the German by)

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3 wins. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley ... Butch (as Oscar Kawagley)
Rosel Zech ... Roswitha
k.d. lang ... Kotzebue
Eugene Omiak Eugene Omiak ... Ovy
Wayne Waterman Wayne Waterman ... Ronnie
Jane Lind ... Noayak
Chuck Connors ... Bingo Chuck
Alvira H. Downey Alvira H. Downey ... Izzy
Wolfgang Steinberg Wolfgang Steinberg ... Albert
Christel Merian Christel Merian ... Albert's Wife
George Barril George Barril ... Bingo Attendant
Gary Albers 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) See more »

Also Known As:

Percy Adlon's Salmonberries See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pelemele Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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: [to Kotzebue who has just swiped a book off to the table onto the floor] I hate your kind of jokes, boy. It shows no respect for books. This time you won't get far. This time the sheriff will come. And then the handcuffs will say click. And the books will be safe again from you and your kind, young man.
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
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User Reviews

Intriguing direction and editing
24 July 2002 | by JuguAbrahamSee all my reviews

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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