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Total Balalaika Show (1994) HD online

Total Balalaika Show (1994) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Documentary / Comedy / Music
Original Title: Total Balalaika Show
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Writers: Aki Kaurismäki
Released: 1994
Duration: 57min
Video type: Movie
A 57 minute documentary of a Helsinki concert featuring the Leningrad Cowboys and the Alexandrov Red Army Choir and Ballet, who collaborate on a number of US Rock songs sung in English (like "Sweet Home, Alabama") as well as more traditional Russian songs like the "Volga Boatman".
Credited cast:
Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble - Themselves, choir
Twist-Twist Erkinharju Twist-Twist Erkinharju - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Ben Granfelt Ben Granfelt - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Sakke Järvenpää Sakke Järvenpää - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Sakari Kuosmanen Sakari Kuosmanen - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Jore Marjaranta Jore Marjaranta - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Ekke Niiva Ekke Niiva - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Jyri Närvänen Jyri Närvänen - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Pemo Ojala Pemo Ojala - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Silu Seppälä Silu Seppälä - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Mauri Sumén Mauri Sumén - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Mato Valtonen Mato Valtonen - Himself (as Leningrad Cowboys)
Igor Agafonnikov Igor Agafonnikov - Himself, Conductor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leningrad Cowboys Leningrad Cowboys - Themselves

Reviews: [10]

  • avatar


    The Red Army Choir performing "Happy Together" with a Finnish band called the Leningrad Cowboys? To top it, even singing "Finlandia" at Helsinki's Senate Square? This concert, filmed in 1993, would have seemed rather unthinkable a few years earlier. It's still a surreal experience to watch it on DVD: the Russian choir and orchestra in stiff uniforms, bearing a mostly somber expression combined with the ludicrously styled, eccentric Leningrad Cowboys and their often parodistic rock demeanour. Remembering the time of Cold War, it is also strangely touching. But what about the music? Well, I have to say that it's not bad at all. Quite the contrary, it's surprisingly good. The Red Army Choir's unnamed lead singer does impressive work together with the Cowboys, and I'm sure that the popular Russian songs sound exactly as they should, although the selection can't be called particularly original (neither the choice of Western songs), but that was probably exactly the right decision for a concert of this kind. It's energetic and in its incomparable blend of silliness and really serious musicianship (on both "sides") something to behold, indeed.
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    It's unlikely you'll ever see a concert film quite like the one shot on 12 June 1993 in Helsinki, Finland with the Leningrad Cowboys and the Alexandrov Red Army Choir and Dancers. 13 songs: "Finlandia" by Sibelius; "Let's Work Together" - with the drummer on a stage designed like a tractor, guitars in the shape of tractors and some air guitar action; "Volga Boatmen"; "Happy Together"; "Delilah"; "Knocking on Heaven's Door" with 6 women dancers in folk costume; "Oh Field" (the incongruity of the solemness of the Red Army Choir coupled with the Leningrad Cowboys lying flat on their backs, hair sticking up vertically a foot or so, and waving the boots with the curly toes back and forth cracked me up); Cossack dancing in "Kalinka"; "Gimme All Your Loving"; numerous dance troupes accompanying "Jewelry Box"; "Sweet Home Alabama"; "Dark Eyes"; and closing with "Those Were The Days" with Kirsi Tykkylainen (who also sings this song in the 1992 short of the same name).

    The set designs were quite amusing, different aspects being revealed by lighting chances throughout the performance. The concert was bookended by a scene at the beginning titled "Moscow, May 28, 1993" with one of the Leningrad Cowboys and some functionary signing a document and a bust of Lenin spotlighted at the ending.
  • avatar


    Entertaining, surreal, hilarious, catchy, spectacular and just a lotta fun. Imagine meeting Lynyrd Skynyrd 30 years ago and telling them that one day "Sweet Home Alabama" would be performed by 10 guys with giant pointy shoes and giant pointy pompadours, backed by the Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble, in front of 70,000 screaming Finlandians.

    It's very sweet to witness this display of unity between neighboring countries with a history of animosity. Opening with the Red Army Ensemble singing "Finlandia" and then going into "Let's Work Together" and "Happy Together" and a wonderful mix of Russian standards (I'm assuming) and western rock n' roll, it's really a joyous blend of two cultures. You can't help but smile. Although it's an oddball among Kaurismaki's deadpan narratives, it's one of his finest creations and one of the greatest concert films. The world needs more stuff like this. I'd love to visit Finland, they seem like they have a great sense of humor over there.

    A fun, charming music & dance performance.
  • avatar


    Total Balalaika Show is often wrongly described as "the third Leningrad Cowboys movie". That's not really correct: the Show is, in fact, a concert, featuring the Cowboys and the Red Army Choir, which took place in Helsinki. Aki Kaurismäki, who directed the Leningrad Cowboys flicks, filmed this concert and made it known to the world.

    The biggest pleasure of seeing this event is the discovery that, contrary to popular belief, the Leningrad Cowboys aren't bad at all. That's just something they made up for the movies. Just watch them as they take Helsinki by storm with their personal versions of Those Were The Days (also featured in one of Kaurismäki's short films) and Sweet Home Alabama (amazing, just amazing).

    It's a really great experience, whose impact is partially diminished by one fact: Kaurismäki's version doesn't feature the entire concert, since getting the rights to certain songs (most notably Bob Dylan's Knocking On Heaven's Door) would have been too expensive. Nonetheless, what we have is a really good filmed concert, and there's plenty of fun to be had for those watching it.
  • avatar


    Having seen 2 performances by the Leningrad Cowboys and listened to their cd's I can only conclude that this documentary gives a hint of the excellence of the total. The choir is one of the best in the world and the band is the best in the world(IMHO).

    I would have a preferred to see the entire show including the intermissions, that would have given a more complete sence of the overal atmosfere.
  • avatar


    I was living in Lahti when this show was broadcast on Finnish television.I was completely stunned by the severe clash of cultures.On the one hand,a group of comically dressed musicians,very competent and visually appealing obviously spoofing the teddy boy craze and on the other hand one of the best choruses in the world dressed in their military finest. You could not expect the two divergent musical styles to get along,much less complement.... But it all works well,with the wonderful antique tractor on full display and the Red Army chorus singing Sweet Home Alabama.What a wonderful show it must have been to see live.It seems like the entire city of Helsinki was there. Hey that is only 500,000 but that's a lot of Finns in one place.
  • avatar


    This 1993 concert is absolutely awesome. The Leningrad Cowboys gave the Finnish people a lot for their money. Backed by the Alexandrov Red Army Choir, they set Helsinki on fire on that night in June.

    Covers of The Turtles, Bob Dylan, Tom Jones, and ZZ Top are just a small aspect of this "rockumentary". (Their version of "Those Were The Days" has to be seen to be believed)

    Bravo to Kaurismaki, a world-class director who achieved something really special with this concert film. It's hard to find these days, but if you can track it down, you will be in for a serious treat.
  • avatar


    A 57 minute documentary of a Helsinki concert featuring the Leningrad Cowboys and the Alexandrov Red Army Choir and Ballet, who collaborate on a number of US Rock songs sung in English (like "Sweet Home, Alabama") as well as more traditional Russian songs like the "Volga Boatman".

    After a successful movie or two, the Leningrad Cowboys had to become a real musical sensation. And why not? They sound good, they look good, and the time was right for a blend of Russian and American culture, even if it was done by a bunch of Finnish guys.

    What we get is a nice mix of classic American rock (1960s and 70s tunes) and Russian standards that probably will not be familiar to most Americans. All the more reason to check it out, because they do a superb job presenting both.
  • avatar


    Well, this certainly isn't your run of the mill rock'n'roll concert. On June 12, 1993 the Leningrad Cowboys joined forces with the Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble to perform a live concert in Helsinki's Senate Square in front of an audience of 70,000 people. The sheer incongruity and improbability of this event gives the whole thing a marvelously surreal aura: The Leningrad Cowboys sport their trademark ridiculous unicorn horn hairstyles and pointy shoes while the Red Army choir are dressed to the dignified nines in their military uniforms and really pour their hearts and souls into their singing. But somehow these two radically contrasting groups mesh perfectly into a fantastic whole, with spot-on stirring performances of such songs as the majestic "Volga Boatman," the joyous "Happy Together," the stately "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," the lovely "Kalinka," and an especially spirited rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama." Best of all, this concert stands tall as a glorious testament on how the power of music crosses all cultural boundaries and brings people together. A total treat.
  • avatar


    About 6 years ago when i was 12, i believe, i went to the theaters to see this movie with a friend and our mothers. I understand that because that was such a long time ago and i was still so young, this review might not be completely reliable. However I still perfectly remember how much of a waste of time I found this movie to be and that is why I'm not going to make myself go trough that terrible experience again.

    This is in fact the only rating of 1 that i have ever given because I feel like 1's are given too easily and because every other movie/ TV show i have ever seen has had at least one moment that I didn't hate.

    In fact, this "thing" can not even be called a movie. It's a horrible concert with horrible music from a horrible band with horrible hair, meant to have a horrible deeper meaning about a horrible war that gave me a horrible experience. I do appreciate deeper meanings in movies except if those deeper meanings are covered in an hour long pile of sh*t that is being bombarded at me.

    Also because this is a concert, it has no story, and no spoilers, so i have just spoiled all 0 of the 0 spoilers.

    If you don't mind, i'm going to eat some ice cream and think of something more fun (for example everything else in life) and I suggest you do the same thing instead of watching this "thing"