There is something uniquely interesting about a Finnish rock band, backed by a a Russian military choir, singing “Sweet Home Alabama” for thousands of fans in Helsinki. If there is one thing to be said for Total Balalaika Show, it’s that you’ll never see another concert film quite like it.
Aki Kaurismäki completes the Leningrad Cowboys trilogy with this live concert film of the Cowboys performing with the Alexandrov Red Army Choir and Ballet. The contrast of styles couldn’t be more perfect, creating an experience like none other. Musically, the Leningrad Cowboys are much more about their aesthetic and look than their musicianship. Like a Finnish KISS, a live forum is right in their wheelhouse, and their earnest energy and enthusiasm carries the film. Briskly paced, well-directed, and a whole lot of fun, Total Balalaika Show is the perfect capstone on Kaurismäki’s Leningrad Cowboys saga.