directed by Aki Kaurismäki
Finland 1994

"Make tractors, not war"

The Leningrad Cowboys, one of the most iconographic cult bands, along with The Blues Brothers and Spinal Tap, were formed in the late eighties. The ten man band is despite their name, from Helsinki, Finland. Their music have roots in Polka, Finnish and Russian folk music, and their sound is unique, as they blend electric guitar with instruments as the harmonica and tuba. Equally unique is their look: black suits (mostly) and huge unicorn hairstyles, matching their long pointed shoes.

In 1989, Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki made the first of three films about this legendary band with “Leningrad Cowboys Go America”, his to date most popular film, starring the original line-up of the band, and telling the story of how the band went from Russian tundra failure to a top band in Mexico. It was followed by “Leningrad Cowboys Meets Moses” in 1994, where the band returned to Europe and toured France, Chzeck republic and Poland, before returning home to the tundra. The third and last installment was the concert film, “Total Balalaika Show”.

In 1993, the Leningrad Cowboys performed live in Senate Square, Helsinki in front of 70,000 ecstatic fans, along with the Russian Red Army Choir. In the spirit of glasnost (Russian: openness), the concert embraces East meeting West, thru Russian Folk music and Finnish interpretive Rock music, with classics like Kalinka and The Volga Boat Man (Russian), and Delilah and Gimme All Your Lovin (Rock).

As in the two prior Leningrad Cowboy films, Kaurismäki once more notes upon the importance of musical roots. Where other rock bands took to Moscow and performed their music, the Leningrad Cowboys invites the Russians to share their musical legacy and history.

Ok, so the Leningrad Cowboys aren’t the best band in the world, but there wont be any concert like this again. It is full of great music and the love for it, and isn’t that in the end what a great concert is all about? Warmly recommended.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 2, 1994

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DVD Review: Sandrew Metronome - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Distribution

Sandrew Metronome

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 0:54:30 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.68:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.53 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Russian, English
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sandrew Metronome

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.68:1

Edition Details:
• Kaurismäki short films:
• Thru the Wire (5:31)
• Rocky VI (8:09)

DVD Release Date: December 14, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 14
 

Comments The DVD is a DVD5 edition, with edge enhancements, from none to at times rather thick ones, and red is bleeding. The picture is a little grainy. Sandrew got the source directly from Sputnik, who says that their master is a newly restored version.

The DVD has a rudimentary menu, one normally only would expect on bootlegs: One menu, options: to play. Again, this is not Sandrew's fault, as the layout basically was dictated by Kaurismäki himself.

The DVD is presented in OAR of 1.68:1 (16x9) with black bars on the left and right side. That more than makes up for the bad menu.

There are no subtitles, but this being a concert film, it really doesn't matter.

As additional material two Kaurismäki shortfilms are added. "Thru the Wire" and "Rocky VI", both starring starring The Leningrad Cowboys, and both presented, again, in OAR 1.66:1 (16x9).

SONGS
Finlandia
Let’s work together
Volga Boatmen
Happy together
Delilah
Knockin’ on heaven’s door
Oh, Field
Kalinka
Gimme all your lovin’
Jewellry Box
Sweet Home Alabama
Dark Eyes
Those were the days

 - Henrik Sylow

 



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