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Eclipse Series 29: Aki Kaurismaki's Leningrad Cowboys (1994)

Matti Pellonpaa , Aki Kaurismaki  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Eclipse Series 29: Aki Kaurismaki's Leningrad Cowboys + Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy (Shadows in Paradise / Ariel / The Match Factory Girl)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Matti Pellonpaa
  • Directors: Aki Kaurismaki
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011
  • Run Time: 230 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005D0RDGG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,900 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

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.

1989

79 Minutes

Color

Stereo

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

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

94 Minutes

Color

Stereo

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

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


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great films but disappointing picture quality February 27, 2012
I have these in the Finnish language releases. They are terrific cult films and hilarious to watch. Unfortunately the Criterion transfers are below par, the picture is soft and the colors weak. The Finnish PAL releases are noticably better. Only in the subtitles do Criterion excell. They offer the choice of full subtitles whereas the Finns only subtitle the Finnish language parts. As visitors to Finland will know the Finnish accent is a bit different and the Criterion titles do help.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Story Short Crterion Never Fails! November 15, 2011
i bought this on a spur of the moment 50% sale, not a big suprise that the prestigious criterion picked out a very enjoyable finish cult classic. Anyone who appreciates good films will like these odd quirky films.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Above all, a very muted, subdued, and dry experience in its own right but stylistically intriguing as a whole. After viewing Kaurismaki's Le Havre, his most recent cinematic effort, Leningrad Cowboys, along with Ariel and Juha, is considered one of his most notable works during his career. First off, the film deals with a Russian folk music band touring the United States after losing a contract and fan-base in their home country.

The film, despite its potential snafus to certain audiences, is neither pro-Communist nor spoken in Russian or Finnish (given the director's homeland) with English subtitles but in seldom-used, broken English for the most part with some Mexican Spanish. Aside from that, the stylistic factor is notified by its distant humour and dialogue where much of the comedy and irony comes from the small things they say and the mildly zany things (particularly tame material for a PG-13 film) they do like leave a member of their band to be in a bed of ice with his bass guitar, look at pictures of elderly Russian women out of romantic feelings, or revolt against their secretly greedy band leader. Le Havre, in comparison, is a little more obvious and timed precisely than Leningrad's more freeform aspects.

While the film can be seen at parts as purely hilarious (in a dry manner), the whole film is too spare and slow to be considered a classic or re-watchable especially in the YouTube era of fast-paced comedy. Interesting effort in cross-continental cinema but not entirely a glourious cult effort that The Criterion Collection puts it out as."
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