In the late eighties and early nineties, Aki Kaurismäki (The Match Factory Girl), the master of the deadpan, fashioned a waggish fish-out-of-water tale about a U.S. tour by “the worst rock-and-roll band in the world.” Leningrad Cowboys Go America’s posse of fur-coated, outrageously pompadoured hipsters struck such a chord with international audiences that the fictional band became a genuine attraction, touring the world. Later, Kaurismäki created a sequel, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses, and filmed a gigantic stadium show the band put on in Helsinki for the rollicking documentary Total Balalaika Show. With this Eclipse series, we present these crackpot musical and comic odysseys, along with five Leningrad Cowboys music videos directed by Kaurismäki.
Set Includes: Leningrad Cowboys Go America
A struggling Siberian rock band leaves the lonely tundra to tour the United States because, as they are told, “they put up with anything there.” Aki Kaurismäki’s winningly aloof farce follows the men as they bravely make their way across the New World, carrying a coffin full of beer and sporting hairdos like unicorn horns. Leningrad Cowboys Go America was such a sensation that the band gained a real-life cult following.
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Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses:
Living in Mexico with a top-ten hit under their belts, the Leningrad Cowboys have fallen on hard times. When they move north to rejoin their manager (Kaurismäki mainstay Matti Pellonpää) for a gig in Coney Island, he seems to have turned into a delusional self-proclaimed prophet who wishes to lead them back to the promised land of Siberia. Like the first installment, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses is a road movie, but this time the humorous hardships come from the rocky terrain of the new Europe. 1994
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Total Balalaika Show:
Kaurismäki’s documentary of the Leningrad Cowboys’ massive Helsinki Square concert, on Finland’s largest stage, is a loving tribute to the rock band he made famous. Seventy thousand people from Finland and Russia turned out for this megaspectacle, with musical selections, from Sibelius to Bob Dylan, that crossed genre and national divides. And the band was joined onstage by the 150-member Russian Red Army Choir; Variety called it “the most incongruous—and inspired—cross-cultural pairing since Nureyev danced with Miss Piggy.”
Also Featuring the following Leningrad Cowboys music videos: Rocky VI, Thru the Wire, L.A. Woman, These Boots, and Those Were the Days