Even looking at the cover for this DVD release, I knew that if I watched it I would be seeing KD Lang naked. I don’t know why this was, perhaps something about her expression told me I had better beware. I do like Rosel Zech however, and the experience wasn’t wasted; it was comforting to see her in a starring role, even if she had to go to Alaska to achieve it.
For somebody whose English is so stunningly good, Rosel Zech appears in virtually no English language films. Zech, who plays a widowed librarian living at the end of the world, is clearly more flexible than most English speaking actresses; but that’s perhaps an illusion created by the obvious typecasting that the American film industry goes in for.
Salmonberries (1991) feels like a bit of a one man show on the part of the director Percy Adlon, director of Bagdad Cafe (1987) and most recently Mahler on the Couch (2010). Sometimes you like to get that slightly on edge feel you get from Fassbinder films; then later you find out that the feeling you get may be to do with the fact that he did nearly everything he could in one take. As editor ‘Franz Walsh’ he also worked quickly, but he had figure out how to edit in camera as well.
The alternative way to treat vision is to make a film like Salmonberries, with less collaboration. I’m in no doubt there is a strong story in here, and great locations and actors to make use of too, but there is something almost endless about the experience, maybe because there’s no great urgency to the story. I got through the nudity scene unscathed, but kd lang’s character was while easy to understand, perhaps just overegged, though not by her. She looks like she’d make a great actress and like Rosel Zech in this, should have been allowed to develop, demand more script, or even improvise.
The whole crux of Salmonberries is identiy, and finding out who you are, German or Alaskan, but this is a little buried in snow, I felt, and there was quite a bit of trudging to be done to reach it. What is keen however, is the possibility of two women finding out these things together, although the hostile play between the two characters deosn't seem to peak or play out either.