Eclipse Series 29 - Aki Kaurismaki's Leningrad Cowboys (Criterion) (Disc 1 of 3): Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989)
Set Synposis: In the late eighties, Aki Kaurismäki, a 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 outdoor concert that the band put on in Helsinki, for the rollicking documentary Total Balalaika Show. With this Eclipse series, we present all three crackpot musical and comic odysseys, along with five Leningrad Cowboys music videos also directed by Kaurismäki.
Leningrad Cowboys Go America: A struggling Siberian rock band leaves the lonely tundra to tour the United States because, as they're told, "they'll buy anything there." Aki Kaurismäki's winningly aloof farce follows the musicians as they bravely make their way across the New World, carrying a bandmate (and some beer) in a coffin and sporting hairdos that resemble unicorn horns. Leningrad Cowboys Go America was such a sensation that it brought the fictional band a major real-life following.
Eclipse Series 29 - Aki Kaurismaki's Leningrad Cowboys (Criterion) (Disc 2 of 3): Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses (1989)
Living in Mexico with a top-ten hit under their belts, the Leningrad Cowboys have fallen on hard times. When they head north to rejoin their manager (Kaurismäki mainstay Matti Pellonpää) for a gig in Coney Island, he has turned into a self-proclaimed prophet who wishes to lead them back to the promised land of Siberia. Like its predecessor, Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses is a road movie, the humorous hardships this time coming from the rocky terrain of the new Europe.
Eclipse Series 29 - Aki Kaurismaki's Leningrad Cowboys (Criterion) (Disc 3 of 3): Total Balalaika Show (1993)
Aki Kaurismäki's film of the Leningrad Cowboys' massive concert in Helsinki's Senate Square with the 150-member Alexandrov Red Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble is a loving tribute to the rock band he made famous. Seventy thousand people turned out for this megaspectacle; featuring musical selections from Sibelius to Bob Dylan, it crossed genre and national divides. Also included on this disc are the Leningrad Cowboys music videos "Rocky VI," "Thru the Wire," "L.A. Woman," "Those Were the Days," and "These Boots."