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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>
What is a man to do who has resisted marriage until late middle age but then enters into a fraudulent marriage of convenience and ends up solely responsible for a five year old in the bargain? That is Franta Louka's dilemma in this beautiful film.
Louka, played by Zdenek Sverak who also wrote the screenplay, is a onetime philharmonic cellist who has lost his orchestra job because the Soviet era Czech communist powers-that-be deem him unreliable. As a consequence Louka has been reduced to playing at weddings and funerals and re-gilding cemetery tombstones. He has no car and is deeply in debt. In order to finance a car and reduce his debt Louka lets a coworker from the cemetery convince him to marry a Russian woman so that she can emigrate to the West. Louka reluctantly agrees and married the woman but the Russian decamps. This ultimately results in Louka becoming solely responsible for the woman's five year old boy -- who only speaks Russian.
Louka and the little boy's relationship is both believable and moving. "Kolya" is very nearly a great film. Highly, highly recommended. 9 out of 10.
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