(H, L, NN, S) Humanism; 3 curse words; brief female nudity; and, subtle and rebuffed lesbianism.
SALMONBERRIES is a well-made, low-budget movie which reveals the healing power of friendship as two lonely women, different in outlook, culture and sexual orientation, develop a deep, interpersonal relationship. Set in a remote northwestern Alaskan village, the movie focuses on the unlikely relationship between a wild, uncultured Eskimo youth who works in the local mine, and a reclusive, cultured East German expatriate who works as the local librarian.
In the film SALMONBERRIES, director Percy Adlon lyrically transports the viewer into the world of off-beat characters and their austere environment. Set in a remote Alaskan village, the movie focuses on the relationship between Kotzebue, a wild Eskimo girl who pretends to be a man and works in the mine, and Roswitha, a cultured East German expatriate who works as the local librarian. An orphan, Kotzebue develops a crush on Roswitha. In a moving scene on the winter ice, Roswitha tells the story of how her husband was killed when they tried to escape Communism and how her brother was the only one who knew of their plan. Kotzebue buys two-round trip tickets to Germany so that Roswitha can go back and be reconciled to her brother. While in a hotel room, Kotzebue confesses her love for Roswitha, but Roswitha rejects Kotzebue’s explicit advances and tells Kotzebue she just wants them to remain friends.
Fraught with available light cinematography, SALMONBERRIES is that rare film which creates a deep sense of organically connected place. Almost devoid of plot, the film does illustrate a good lesson in the healing power of love–especially when it does not take the easy way out in a sexually consummated love between the main characters.