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 ...
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 Canadaa 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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