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  Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses Go EastBuy this film here.
Year: 1994
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Stars: Twist-Twist Erkinharju, Ben Granfelt, Sakke Järvenpää, Jore Marjaranta, Ekke Niva, Jyri Närvänen, Pemo Ojala, Silu Seppälä, Mauri Sumén, Mato Valtonen, Matti Pellonpää, Kari Väänänen, André Wilms, Nicky Tesco, Jacques Blanc, Nicole Helies
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Weirdo
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It has been five years since the worst rock 'n' roll band in the world, The Leningrad Cowboys, arrived in Mexico and it had all been going so well at first. However, the group was brought low by the demon drink, and soon their number had been halved by the effects of Tequila, leaving the remaining few a pale shadow of their former selves. Just when things were looking bleak, they received a Morse code message telling them to head for Coney Island in the U.S.A. because there was someone there who wished to meet them with a job - someone familiar...

Leningrad Cowboys Go America had been director and screenwriter Aki Kaurismäki's previous film to star the band, but its sequel, which this was, would be far lesser known and indeed seen, even by fans of the first instalment. While the novelty had worn off somewhat, this was by no means a big step down in quality, and the same deadpan sense of humour was still very much in evidence, as were the tunes the band played at regular intervals along their journey.

As with the previous film, this was a road movie which instead of making the trip across America saw the Cowboys take a trip across Europe so they can reach home in Siberia. Why are they doing this? Well, you may recall at the end of the first tale their manager Vladimir (Matti Pellonpää) wandered off into the night, and according to the caption was never seen again. That's kind of true, as we do see him again - it was he who sent the message to the Cowboys - but he now has a new guise as an Old Testament prophet. That's right, Vladimir is now Moses.

Moses tells what is left of the band they must head home and it is up to him to take them to the Promised Land, although one member falls in love at the funfair and leaves the rest of them to take a powerboat across the Atlantic to France. Not Moses, though, he has business and will catch up with them: he has to steal the nose of the Statue of Liberty, which he does with remarkable ease, and then head over to Europe on a plane. On a plane's wing, to be exact, and once over the beach where the Cowboys have washed up, he slips off to meet them.

As you can see, any kind of dramatic sense is not especially adhered to, but this surreal atmosphere can work up a good few laughs. You get the impression that the filmmakers are not particularly bothered whether you find this funny or not, they're just travelling their own path regardless, but there is a religious message. As we see when Moses is chased across the world by a French C.I.A. agent (André Wilms), and he is converted to his cause, there's a dialogue between Marxism and Christianity here, with Moses quoting from the Bible to deflect any awkward questions, walking on water (in a swimming pool) and meeting a burning bush (which he sets light to himself). Not that you can take this any more seriously than the rest of it, but there's a shaggy dog story charm the Leningrad Cowboys films that you cannot imagine anyone else trying to recapture. Music by Mauri Sumén.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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