Kolya (1996)
"Kolja" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  24 January 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 11,926 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 62 critic

Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, a confirmed bachelor and a lady's man. Having lost his place in the state orchestra, he must make ends meet by playing ... See full summary »



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zdenek Sverák ...
Andrey Khalimon ...
Kolja (as Andrej Chalimon)
Libuse Safránková ...
Ondrej Vetchý ...
Stella Zázvorková ...
Ladislav Smoljak ...
Irina Bezrukova ...
Nadezda (as Irina Livanova)
Liliyan Malkina ...
Tamara (as Lilian Malkina)
Karel Hermánek ...
Petra Spalková ...
Nela Boudová ...
Brozová (as Nella Boudová)
René Pribil ...
Miroslav Táborský ...
Slávka Budínová ...


Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, a confirmed bachelor and a lady's man. Having lost his place in the state orchestra, he must make ends meet by playing at funerals and painting tombstones. But he has run up a large debt, and when his friend, the grave-digger Mr. Broz, suggests a scheme for making a lot of money by marrying a Russian woman so that she can get her Czech papers, he reluctantly agrees. She takes advantage of the situation to emigrate to West Germany, to her lover; and leaves her five-year-old son with his grandmother; when the grandmother dies, Kolya must come and live with his stepfather - Louka. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The perfect grouch has met his match. A five-year-old boy named Kolya.


Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

24 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kolya  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$37,795 (USA) (24 January 1997)


$5,730,711 (USA) (11 July 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Magda Vásáryová turned down the part of Klára, eventually played by Libuse Safránková. See more »


Throughout the movie, many background cars are clearly newer than 1989 models. The film is set in 1989. See more »


References Nu, pogodi! (1969) See more »


Impressions and Recollections
Written by Zdenek Fibich (as Zdenék Fibich)
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User Reviews

A good Czech film--but there are better ones
23 April 2006 | by (Trivandrum, Kerala, India) – See all my reviews

I am neither Czech nor European. I grew up appreciating the fine Czech cinema of Milos Forman, Jan Kadar and Jiri Menzel. While "Kolya" is refreshing compared to American standards, it lacks the maturity of say Kadar's "Lies my father told me" (Golden Globe winner for best foreign film in 1976) made in Canada—a film in English with a Czech heart and soul or Forman's "Loves of a blonde" (also about music and musicians).

Czech cinema gives a lot of importance to classical Western music. In "Kolya," the emphasis is on Dvorak's Biblical songs—"The Lord is my shepherd" being one. The film might not appear to be religious but interestingly many of Czech filmmakers seem to use religion without making it obvious. (In neighboring Poland, Kieslowski loved to do this to the extent that he made a series of 10 films called "Dekalog" linked to the Ten Commandments.) In the film the child inexplicably swears "Jesus Christ" in Russian. The underlying analogy of a child redeeming the life of wayward adults with no purpose in life is not a surprising turn for east European directors who couch religion in non-religious ambiance. Is it a coincidence that church steeples are visible from the windows and crosses are drawn by a child? As a film, this is at best a good Czech film--nothing more. There have been better Czech films unknown to American and West European audiences.

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