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Germany 1991
Directed by
Percy Adlon
94 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Salmonberries is Adlon’s distaff reworking of his 1987 smash hit, Bagdad Café with the frozen landscape of Alaska replacing the American dustbowl, Rosel Zech replacing Marianne Sägebrecht , k.d.lang replacing C.C Pounder, Chuck Connors replacing Jack Palance and Bob Telson back with his distinctive music.

Written by Adlon with his brother Felix, it tells the story of Katzebue (lang, who also co-wrote the song “Barefoot” that recurs throughout the film), a mixed-up young woman abandoned at birth and named after the town in which she lives, who decides to look for her biological roots in the local library and falls in love with the unpersonable librarian, Roswitha (Zech), an East German who retreated to Alaska 20 years ago after her young husband was shot while the couple escaped to the West.

Whilst almost unavoidably lacking the unique charm of Bagdad Café the main stumbling block here (aside from lang’s lack of acting ability) is that Adlon does not establish the Roswitha character sufficiently from the get-go, leaving her mainly in mid-to-long shots, a distancing exacerbated by the low lighting levels (no doubt, realistic enough), so that Katzebue’s immediate and growing attraction to her remains rather inexplicable. When the pair go to Berlin to find Roswitha’s husband's burial place the film begins to engage but prior to that, some nice visual touches and striking cinematography by Tom Sigel aside, its an emotionally cool affair. That, and the fact that we are probably to aware of its inverted similarity to the 1987 film, leave this as a bold project that didn’t really come off.

DVD Extras: 44m retrospective interview with k.d.lang

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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