Eclipse Series 29: Aki Kaurismäki’s Leningrad Cowboys
In the late eighties and early nineties, Aki Kaurismäki, 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.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.”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.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.