Salmonberries (1991) - full transcript

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. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Salmonberries (1991)

And then she dies,

but how she dies.

Death comes in these

terrible waves.

Grabs her,

lets her go.


Her skin changes.

Her smell.

She smells like ..


- And she is so...

- beautiful.

So beautiful!

And the writing

so detailed that you need a blanket

it sends the chills up and down your spine.

These people become like me.

Although they are French,

Everything is so close.

Yes, that's how it is with reading.


OK just the scene with the coach...

that's all. She...

She is in the coach
with her young lover.

She wanted to give him a letter to explain

that she doesn't want him anymore.

And the coach curtains close,

and the people in the city
see the coach for hours

riding around everywhere,

and suddenly it rides
out of the city, the coach.

And her hand

appears from behind the curtain,

.. opens ..

And paper scraps
fly behind the coach,

like white butterflies.

Butch, I have also read
Madame Bovary.

It is one of the most
beautiful books ever.

One of the most beautiful.

One of the most beautiful...

And now tell me what you want.
Course there are no new books yet.

You know it doesn't matter to me, Roswitha:

the main thing is that I can
reach my quota every night.

I will start again with the A.
The A books are...

Butch, you know where the
A is, so find it yourself.

The Books get better
the more you read them.

Actually, that's not quite right,

The good books, they get better and better,

And the bad ones...
- Butch!

And the bad ones don't get worse.

They just stay put.
- Check them out and then buzz off!

You are an angel, Roswitha.

If I wasn't reading so much...
- Bye.

I don't know what would become of me.
- Goodbye, Butch. Have a nice evening.

Oh hi!

Have you been waiting there for a while?

I'm going to close now.

Im sure you don't mind
coming back tomorrow.


A book about the
city? You can look at it tomorrow.

Do me a favour and leave please. I
also would like to go home sometime.

I need it now.

Here it is.
If you want to take it away

you have to enter your name.
But hurry up.

Stop that!

You don't read books like that.

Do you even know how to read?

Kotzebue police.
I am... there is...

- Is there an emergency?
- No. It's nothing, thank you.

- Hello?
- It's OK.

When the sun goes down here

and darkness falls

the blanket of winter
leaves no light at all.

You search for shelter

to calm the storm,

shaking is an instinct

just to stay warm

But I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you open your door.
I'd walk...

Come on up, Kotz.

-Hurry up.
Hello, Ovy.

Hello, Kotz. It looks like you fell.

You fainted?

He collapsed on top of a fox.

Blue eyes!

Was your father a wolf?

Where were you last night?

You didn't go to bingo. I won.

I mean, I lost a lot.

Ovy, you always lose.

How much did you lose. Do you have left for
buy a case of beers?

This wind

through my soul

blows cold.

Good morning gentlemen.

A little surprise for
those of you who barked

all over the place.

I hope the three hours
have gone by pleasantly.

In a few minutes we'll be touching
down at your favorite summer resort.

And in four weeks

you will able to see your
old friend Ronnie again.

And the motto is:

Two weeks of booze, bugging and bingo.

Come on, get out! Have a good time!

Have you vomited again?

We will pay you in a few weeks.

Captain, throw me one
of those bottles.

How much to eat??? come out!

There you go!

Tell me, what did you just have?


I've already prepared the video.

Just push the button.

You do that, Elsie OK?

Sorry, I almost stepped on you.

Do I know you?

What do you want?

Aren't you the book batter?

Where's the other one?

You mean Witha?

Well she's no longer with us.

You don't have a crush on her do you?

Oh look - who do we have here!

Take care, Witha.
- Have a nice evening Noayak.

So, you want to excuse yourself.

Thank you. You're
welcome .. my pleasure.

You don't talk very much, I guess.

You're an Inupiat, or what?


- Oh. what's your name?
- Kotzebue.

Your name is Kotzebue?

My people discovered this place.

Your people?

OK. Now listen to me:

Kotzebue, that is a German name. I

I hate your kind of jokes, boy.

Who shows no respect for books,
normally has no...

This time you won't get far.
This time the sherriff will come

then the handcuffs will say 'click',

And the books will be safe again
from you and your kind,

young man.

What next?

Hey. It's pretty dark in here.

Maybe I do read too much
at night.

I .. I just thought I saw

.. a naked woman.

- Hello.
- Hello, Butch.

My little nephews!
- Hello Dad!

Hey you old book worm

Honey, my dear!

My beautiful educated princess
of the world of books.

I forgot my toilet brush.
- Toilet brush!

Ah I see that your admirer
is still here.

Did you both have fun
throwing books again?

I hated your spying on
other people.

Turn it off.

Just turn it off.

Do you have your period, or what?

- No.
- Well you're getting it.

I fixed it...

What the hell are you doing here?

Are you out of your mind?

How much longer is this to go on?

This is absolute terror.

It must be Christmas..
The young man is bringing presents.

Do we need help?

Should I go and get someone?

No. I'll be able to handle this myself.

So, what is it with this rubbish?

He was Russian, fine, OK. Then
you know it all, I'm happy for you

Anything else?
- You know more. Tell me.

They were Russians, that's all.
- You're lying!

Me? You say that I lie? And you, you lie to
me and say that your name is like the town.

You come in here, and throw books ..

You do a strip tease,
.. the public sign.

Your name is Kotzebue?
You shall have your story:

Otto von Kotzebue,
who discovered this area here,

was the third of the 17 children

of the successful German playwright
August von Kotzebue,

who in the year 1819 was stabbed to death

by a student of
theology called Sand.


He was sentenced to death and
decapitated by sword in public.

The Kotzebues lived part of
of the time in Rewall, Estonia,

So some of their children
were born as Russians.

Four of the sons are to be found
in the dictionary.

One was a writer,
another a high rank officer,

another an explorer
and one was a battle painter

supposedly the painter went mad
and jumped through his last painting.

The girls were not mentioned.

That's it. Noayak!

I think we will help Kotzebue
to carry that sign out of here. Now.

Alright folks we're in the middle
of the game, we're down to the wire.

Here we go..

B-4. Be good.

I-16. Not me anymore.

next one.. I-20.

It will get you plenty.

Slower, Chuck.
I'm trying to slow down.

O-63. Oh look at me.
- Bingo!

Congratulations Bill:

the devil always shits
in the biggest pile.

All right folks, let's keep playing.
Let's rock 'n roll.

Game number twelve.

Oh Lord, what a friend
we have in Jesus!

Stay with it, honey, stay with it.
The game goes on.

A-13. Again thirteen.

And 31. Nice number!

Oh - 65.

Book worm! Book worm!

Toilet brush! Toilet brush!

Cheater, I want my money back!


Then I will have to get the police.

Hey.. This is...

With this they ...

- Found you?


As a new born baby?



Nobody knows.

But not here...


Somewhere in the wilderness


The Eskimos used to
do that with the extra girls.

But they let them freeze.

They didn't put them in a
cardboard box with a destination.

And now you want to know.

- Yes.
- Who your father was...

- Yes.
- And your mother?

- Yes, and...
- And who you are.

You know, I had fellow students
in Germany

who were found
somewhere, on the road side,

in shoe boxes,
at the end of the war.

They too didn't know who
are. You're not the only one.

Who gave you that sign?

The other one.

Your foster mother?


And they called you
that way because that's what the sign said.


Yes. So that is your story

And now you come here and think
that if you terrorise me

I can help you out.
But I can't help you.

And above all, not this way.
Even if I wanted to.

The old story about the German
or the Russian discoverer,

have absolutely nothing to do
with your heritage.

And now let me through - I'm cold.

For you.

That's what I suspected.

- How much do you want for it?
- Nothing.

Want some coffee?

- No.
- Tea?

Tell me.

I already told you, there is nothing.

- Tell me about you.
- I don't talk about myself.

Tell me anyway.

I'm going to put on something else warm.

I mean, do you want some berries?


I will get some anyway.

Where do you work?

Coyote mine.

Four weeks shovellin' and two
weeks off, because of the lead.

The lead will still get into your blood.

But I thought that
only young men worked there?

Well I told the foreman that if someone
came too close I'd cut his dick off.

Oh - I forgot the berries.

I like to collect berries.

There's tons of them!

In patterns.

Well, I have a little screw loose too..

On vacation my husband and I
.. always went to pick berries.

When I came here it continued.

A summer without berries
is no summer for me

At the beginning I thought that I
could give away many of them,

but people came to call
with their presents and

I had to talk to them, but

I wanted to be
alone with my images.

That's how it is and has been for 21 years.

It's good.

When I can them I write
the year on the bottom.

I make new patterns. in the long nights,

When the light returns in February,

everything starts to glow again.

You must be... you're...

Are you pissed or nuts, or what?

Wow, she's sleeping!

She's asleep. Jesus!

Smells like...


- It's strong.
- You are better?

I'm fine.

Please don't drive with that
thing, I mean with the machine.

No, no, the door is over there.

Is anyone home?

I just wanted to come by to chat a little.

Kotzebue brought by a fish.
You can have half.

Call me Kotz.
- Yes, however you like.

Wait wait.

Put it behind.

Are you OK?

- Yes. Put it behind.
- I'm fine.

Hello Roswitha!
Hey you punk, help that lady.

Sit here and put that behind.

When the sun goes down

and night falls,

the cloak of winter

leave everything in the dark.

You seek refuge

to calm the storm,

shaking as an instinct

just to stay warm.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

You hear the howling

of the dogs and the wind,

stirring up the secrets

which are frozen within.

The ice will haunt you,

it lays so deep,

locking up inside you

the dreams that you keep

But I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

Tell me.

Kotz, you won't find anything.
It doesn't have anything to do with you.

Tell me about your husband.

I don't know...

He.. he was...

He was what?

A Musician.


He was a violinist.

The last thing he played was

the Spring Sonata by Beethoven.

- Where is he?
- He's dead.

How old was he?

Twenty-four, just like me at that time.

21 years ago they shot him.



- But you're...
- German, ja.

We were both German,
me and my husband.

OK then, so you will be the one..

I don't know why it is you that
I tell everything.

My parents were Communists.

My father died in a camp
just before the end of the war.

I never knew him.

My brother and I,
we grew up in Berlin.

My mother was very weak,

but so happy we were

in the East when Germany was divided.

For the Communists, who
wanted to realise my father's ideals:

that all people are equal.

But then they built
the Wall. They locked us in.

We couldn't say what we thought

couldnt write what
was in our hearts.

We couldn't do what
we thought was right and fair.

Like with the Nazis,
my mother used to say.

She died.

I married when I was 21

Karl and I decided to escape.

It was on a March night.

We had bought an escape route.

Went underground from a house
from East Berlin directly to theWest

and it ended up directly
behind the Wall.

We were almost through,

We were running,

both with suitcases, backpacks,

he with the violin case.

And then the spotlight,

the voice over a loudspeaker said:

Stop, it's an order!

And then the gunshots.

Karl runs, falls over the violin case.

Shots. I turned around,
wanted to help him.

Shots. He yells:

Run, Roswitha,
for God's sake run! run!

I stood there. I couldn't move.

I see his blood, a pool around him
gets bigger and bigger.

He told me:
Please run!

I ran. I ran. Far...

That's how I came here.

I've never left this place again.

But I always see
that spot that gets bigger and bigger.

My sneakers are wet.


It wouldn't start.

My God, what is this?

It wouldnt start!


I was just trying to fix it.

You blew it up?
- No. I didn't blow it up.

You just blew it up?

No, I was just trying to fix it.
That's all you Young people know.

What you learn from television.

You blow up good things!
- I did not want to do it.

Try and try and try.
- Has been inadvertently.

I really regret

telling my story to
a rascal like you...

I was just trying to fix it.

You have no respect for anyone,
nor of books, not of feelings,

not of yourself.

Hey - wait wait!

You won't make it this way, barefoot.
Let's go!

When the sun goes down here

and darkness falls

the blanket of winter

leaves no light at all.

The ice will haunt you,

it lays deep

locking up inside you

the dreams that you keep.

But I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

This wind

through my soul

blows cold.

Kotz! Strip! Strip!

Strip! Strip! Strip!

Strip! Strip! Strip!

Strip! Strip! Strip! Strip!

Don't you dare!

Go away! Leave me!

Leave me!

Come join us, Witha.

Base 42. Base 42. Can you hear me?

Let's go out right now.

Are you there, Base 42?
- We are about to.

Lucas, do you hear me or not?
Yes, I receive you.

Son, are you there?
It'll still take a while.

Are you going to bring that tat
right now?

Who else is with you?

Are Pete or Selma?

-I'm dying of laughter.
This is Nancy.

How funny is that

And.. that's Kotz,
a friend of mine who crashes here.

Nancy, come.

It wasn't yesterday...

That you told me we were going to Florida.

But you said going to finish
your Masters here.

It wasn't yesterday.

It was 19 years ago, I was 15.

Well the money's here now.

All you gotta do

Say the word..

I will tell you one last time,

bring home the sat gun right now,
Where are you?

After half a
century of painful separation has come down

The German Parliament,
the Reichstag,

is once again a symbol
of democracy.

Celebrationss have been held
all over the country,

but the most spectacular
it was the one in Berlin.

Berlin, Berlin.

More than a million people
crowded around the Brandenburg gate

they watched as fireworks
lit up the sky.

It was 11 months ago
that the wall was breached

and unity of two ations
has arrived quickly.

.. of a new
Federal Republic of Germany.

- Where are you going?
- Berlin.

You don't want to leave
this place,

you don't want to go to Florida.

You wanna sit at your
window and spy on people.

Reporting a rain shower .. just 48 degrees


More rain is expected.
The sky is cloudy.

The average temperature is
39 degrees

If it keeps going down...

Where are you?
Answer, where are you?

Now listen kid.
All I have to do is call the sheriff.

Besides that, I know your...

Where did you get those?

I'll cut your dick off.

I can't forbid you to come here,
it's a public library,

but don't expect any favors.

What's all this about?

- Open it.
- Open it.

A plane ticket.

-Where to?

Two Round trips.

You are crazy.

Maybe I should think of a new name for you

Yes, Switha.
- What?

-What what?
Did you call me sweetheart ?



.. like Witha.

But I think Switha sounds sweeter.

Sorry. Thank you.

You started.


With the names.
- You know?

Kotz doesn't sound good in German.
- Why? What does it mean?

Your key.

It's isnt really important.

Then find me a new one Switha.
- What?

I'll think about it.

You promise it.

- Oh! My blouse!
- Sorry.

Don't you have a brother here?

Aren't we going to visit him?

Switha, what happened?
Are you OK?

I never finished telling you
my story.

My brother,

I think my brother was the only one

that could have given away
our escape route.

Does he know you're here?
- No.

Does he know where you live?
- No.

Does he know you're still alive?


Do you know where he lives?


Oh. We'll find out.

I think I don't want to see it.

Why are you here?
This has nothing to do with you.

But with you.

How does that help you?

I was alone.

Now I have a friend;
I can tell you everything.

And ask you anything.

Switha, where was it?

It was here, I think.

The house must have been here.

Everything was so well thought out.

It seemed so safe.

I guess they blew it up after they
caught us and then filled up the tunnel.

Show me the path, Switha.
Show me everything.

Up the hill was
the tunnel, I think.

My memories are terribly precise
but the reality is so different.

Up here there were mines everywhere
and watch towers.

It was a prison. Why?

Because the idea of the equality
of everyone was misused by a few.

Here... It must have been here.

- Are you sure?
- No.

Switha, look around yourself -
it's gone.

The towers, and the wire, the mines,

the wall... They are gone.

I'm cold.

- Now you want to know?
- Yes.

Where was he taken after

Maybe your brother knows..
- Yes.


Good morning, Albert.

This is Kotzebue.

Roswitha, you are finally here!

So, you are Roswitha.

It was time for me to finally

we met. Pass.


Who is this with whom I have pleasure?

I have something in the oven. Excuse me.

I don't ask you for any explanation

for what you did, Albert.

Young man, can you give me a hand?

It's been a long time, but

to me it's like yesterday

I know you wanted us to stay

you believed in this regime,

your career in the Party.


You didn't want to lose

your only sister.

Also, Karl was your friend.


What did they do with him?

Where was he taken afterwards?

Albert. Albert.


You must say something.

Roswitha, Albert doesn't hear anything.

He is deaf.

He is deaf...

He doesn't have to hear
you, he understands.

So sorry.

Yes, Albert. I knew that

The whole time.

Mother's jewelry. Thank you.


Roswitha, you really must come,

It is almost ready.

But this is...

Roswitha, you can't

go like this.

Switha, you look so beautiful.

Where did you get that?

Where did you get those?

Chuck asked me the same thing.
In the same way.

Bingo Chuck, my ex Chuck? Noayak's husband?

Do you know that Noayak
has the exact same charms.

Mine were in the package.
- The one they found you in?



How far is it to the graveyard?

Not far. It will still be light out.

Berlin, GDR, November 12 1970.

Dear sister:

The tragic event of day 7
has overshadowed my life.

I don't know where you have fled,
or where you plan to flee.

However I would like, in the event
that I find out your whereabouts,

to notify you that we have

with great risk, on the 11th of this month, been
able to give your husband and my friend, Karl,

a proper funeral.

He is buried in section 11-A,

plot 524 in the Prenzlauerberg cemetery.

At the commemoration, two of his colleagues

the Spring Sonata
no. 5 by Ludwig von Beethoven.

After the funeral we invited
his friends at the Gr?ne Linde.

I find it necessary to tell you

that I believe I have done
my duty in reporting the two of you.

And I bear you no grudge.

With socialist greeting.
Your loving brother Albert.

How are you doing?

All right.

- Go figure.
- Yes, of course.

My husband just shows up at night.

I don't know if I will have time.

It needs to be thrown away.

I will not eat this.

This is not bad at all.

Hey! Hey I understand you.

I am Eskimo. I am


I am Eskimo.

I am also an Eskimo.

We are all Eskimos!

This boy is not well.

Can you undo this for me?

I'm glad you said something.

I said nothing.

I wanted to say it, but I couldn't.

It was enough.
- Enough? No it wasn't.

So much more, everything
I feel and see, at home and

from my past. How can I learn?

To say it? To express it?
To speak?


Could you teach me?

Can I honestly teach you anything,


You thought of a name
for me. I think I like it.

Can I hear it one more time?

You've given me
a very great gift today, Bubu:

The bad images are vanishing,

You're smiling for the first time.

Yes, Bubu, I could give it a try.

Now, my journey is over.

Now we could start
to look for the German Kotzebues.

That's not going to do me
any good,

Has nothing to do with me.

Bubu, I'm sorry,
you have helped me so much

And I am so thankful for that.


I do not know where I was without you.

You smell so wonderful.

You're so Beautiful.

So beautiful.

So tender.

You're an angel.

I was nothing

I was in the dark.
Switha, you're bright.

I love you

I love you so much, Switha,

I want to die for you.

Switha, I want to die with you.


Switha, I want to be...


We have to stop now, please.


I am not so.

You are not like that.

We both have .. to be

very careful,

one with the other.

You see, it's like you're
just pulled that sledge

from our city all the way up
to my brother's house,

to the grave.

I really want to tell you how close
I am to you;

please give me some time

My heart is so very upset

I feel so ripped.

I imagine what there would be

You want more

and I would have had
to tell you the same thing,

And this is not me. And after the fact?

What would happen then?

I do love you though.

You came into the library

and didn't have the slightest hope
to find anything,

you just started to search

and you opened one door
after the other for both of us,

You and I.

Bubu, have you ever loved someone,

in a physical sense,
like you wanted me

Man and woman?

Look, I'm very unsure

but I have to be honest:

I think the two of us have
something waiting for us,

something important.
We cannot jeopardize it.

I think of Alaska, it's my home

now even more.

You are for me

the most important in the entire world.

Without you...

Say something, Bubu.


I can't stay with you.

Noayak, I have nothing to read.

The library is closed,
I don't have anything for tonight.

Where is Noayak?

Are you returning my money, young fella?

I got them. She's got them.

I have to go to bingo.

Bingo waits here now, she does not.

What do you mean she ?
- She's a girl.

Oh. I did not give 'em to her

Chuck, what's going on?

The place is packed and..
People are about to tear it apart.

You either lock the place up, or
come down. It won't work this way Chuck

They are very nervous.
Is everything okay, Chuck?

Yes, Ernie. Go calm them down, will you?

Okay, hurry up.

Chuck, I want to know who
you gave the second tat to,

where it was and when it was.

I can't tell you, Noayak.

Chuck, I'll give you
one last chance.

After that, those won't
belong to you again.

You know what I mean.

Noayak, I think we have to tell Chuck

that those were
in the package with the baby

which was found somewhere in
the country 20 years ago.

She is looking for father and
mother, she wants to know who she is.

It's her right.

I cannot help you.


Because I am not proud of it.

Then trash your pride!

It wasn't just these two.

I told you, I'm not proud of it.

I gave them to every one of the girls.

What do you mean by everyone, Chuck?

Noayak, you know who I was.

They called me Kotzebue
because I started my tours from here.

I did business with...

very good trade was sealed .. with a..

A celebration, you don't just turn
down these gifts of hospitality...

they were all very young.
Eskimos are...

I know what Eskimos are.
I wanted to tell you.

And the girls. Yes, I take it
that they were all very young.

Just like me. I was 15

Now I'm 35.

Maybe her mother was 15 too.

On your last tour, the one with
the big snowstorm,

When you appeared out of nowhere

in your big fur coat.

Leave me alone with my daughter.

This wind

through my soul

blows cold.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

When the sun goes down here

and darkness falls

the blanket of winter
leaves no light at all.

You search for shelter

to calm the storm,

shaking with an instinct

just to stay warm.

But I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

You hear the howling

of dogs and wind,

stirring up the secrets

that are frozen inside.

The Ice will haunt you,

it lay so deep,

locking up inside you

the dreams that you keep

But I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

This wind

through my soul

blows cold.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot

if you'd open up your door.

I'd walk through the snow barefoot...

English translation by van26 and Google
Spanish subs. by David (2011)