Around The World in 100 Films – Finland

List Item: Watch films from 100 different nations
Progress: 23/100

Thanks to the good people at the iCheckMovies Unofficial Forum seizing upon my call for help in my post opening up the Around The World in 100 Films I have a lot of interesting ideas for films for countries that I would have found difficult. So, thanks to you guys for that.

LeningradCowboysCountry: Finland
Title: Leningrad Cowboys Go America
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Year: 1989

I went for Finland as the next country for two reasons. Firstly I am a fan of Aki Kaurismäki’s Finland trilogy and I have been meaning to watch more of his films. Secondly, I noticed that I go a few views from Finland for this blog and thought it would be nice if I could make sure to see a film from each country that reads my stuff (something that could get awkward).

So, Leningrad Cowboys Go America. Certainly one of the weirder film titles I’ve seen in a while and it certainly lives up to this. The Leningrad Cowboys themselves are a fictional Russian band, mostly made up of a Finnish rock band, that decide to travel to America to make it big since ‘they’d buy anything’.

What follows is an incredibly deadpan road movie as the band travles from New York to Mexico in order to play at a wedding with the eight band member lying frozen in a makeshift coffin tied to the roof of their car. On the way the band (sporting sunglasses, pointy shoes and foot-long quiffs) play at a number of bars to earn food money (which is then pocketed by their tour manager and all they get in return is raw onions) and so that they can adopt a more rock n’ roll sound. Well, that’s the sound that they are trying for but it becomes a mishmash of Russian folk, rock and country (although I  have to say whatever it is they are playing they do it very well, including a very good rendition of ‘Tequila’.

As films go it would be a very acquired taste, and Kaurismäki comedies are not exactly for everyone but, in my opinion, any film that ends with the lines “And nobody saw him again… shit happens” has got something going for it.

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