A 1991 film written and directed by Percy Adlon
is the story of a young Alaska
n woman, orphan
ed as an infant in the town of Kotzebue
, which also became her name. While searching for her heritage
, Kotzebue befriends the town librarian
, Roswitha, an East German
immigrant whose husband died while they were trying to escape from behind the Iron Curtain
. After pursuing the librarian relentlessly, Kotzebue finally wins the older woman's friendship
. Both troubled
by their own demon
s, Kotzebue travels with Roswitha to Germany
in the hopes that they might find closure
Filmed entirely on location in Kotzebue and Berlin, the ninety-five minute movie received an R rating in the United States and is available on VHS. k.d. lang's appearance as Kotzebue is her only major film role to date, and while Rosel Zech had been in a number of films and TV movies before, her performance as Roswitha was her first major English language role. lang also provided the movie's theme song, "Barefoot."
My girlfriend and I together have just about worn this tape through, and not just k.d.'s split-second nude scene early in the movie. The story line is a bit abstract and I imagine few viewers can relate to either character's problems, but the movie is so beautifully rendered that it's worth watching more than once. There are a number of lovely scenes depicting life in a small town in Alaska, and the relationship between the characters is very carefully developed. My favorite scene is probably the montage accompanying "Barefoot," itself a fantastic song.