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This film is so wonderful, it puts one out of words. It is a swiss
watch in thecnical quality. Everything about this film is perfect in my
view. I think it brings out the same transformation in the audience as
in the old womaniser in the film. Also I think it has had an important
political effect all over the world. Specially in the Check republic
where it has helped people to take a stand to their oppressors after
they left. It is not people that dictate and opress, its politics.
People are the same inside all over the world and through all times and
the communists ruled by fear of the people. Everyone would probably had
done the same in the beurocrats and soldiers shoes had they been on that
side at that time. Thats the scary thing with political utopia. Kolya made peace in his innocence and transformed the minds of people as
Elian changed the situation between Kuba and USA. It takes a pure heart
to free people from prejudism and pessimism. The story of Christ is
Local films on local topics are interesting as for cultural aspect at least - especially when a country is not widely known (as Czechoslovakia was - even for socialist allies). The beautiful city of Prague provides additional value. Luckily, they are not the only virtues of the film - smooth and logical script (still with pleasant turns and realistic ending), talented performances (particularly Andrey Khalimon as Kolya and Zdeněk Svěrák as Louka), and depiction of nonsense of communist times (in fact, totalitarian and miserable when people had to wriggle and invent various options to survive and enhance quality of life as little as possible) compose an integral enjoyment, where comic and tragic elements are in place and balanced. In spite of the time and environment, the film is neither dull nor arid, there are multiple interesting twists with sophisticated solutions, and those were the times when a connection between an older man and young boy (even sleeping in the same bed!) was not automatically considered pedophilia... I am sure it's Academy Award came deservedly as general human values never become timeworn.
Strapped for cash, a Czech cellist enters into a fake marriage with a Russian woman but finds himself in charge of her little son after she emigrates to Germany. This Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film is a sweetly gentle movie that mainly focuses on the budding relationship between the 50-something man and the five-year-old boy. While it is predictable and runs out of steam about midway through, it does have an easy charm about it. Zdenek Sverak, the director's father, is quite believable as the life-long bachelor who has his life disrupted by the little visitor. Chalimon, who was only six at the time of filming, is adorable as the youngster.
This movie is simply great and deserved the award. Yes, it uses quite a
lot of the "established machinery" of the romantic movie industry. Two
strangers come together, and there will develop some sort of positive
relationship, because at last we all humans. But this time the
strangers are a mature Czech and a fragile Russian kid. Russian means
one of those, that years before crossed the border with tanks. And
stayed with their tanks. So Louka would rather like to keep a distance.
But the plot doesn't allow him so. To me the movie is about historical
understanding and forgiveness, described on the level of individual
human relations. I haven't seen this kind of movies before.
Well, may be I'm simply wrong.
Kolya was an amazing little film. I was taken completely by surprize because normally I can't stand those sweet tender-hearted films. The acting is phenomenal as well as the cinematography. I wouldn't go as far as saying that this was one of my favorite films, but it was good. A pretty average nice film. Unfortunately it was pretty predictable and that was a shame.
Excellent movie in every way. One of the few movies where I can empathize with a man three times my age, but also a third my age! Everyone is unbelievably believable in this movie. The actors are not acting, they simply ARE the persons. A movie almost free of 'bad guys'. Instead everything is shades of grey, just like in real life. The only downside is of course the language, which makes reading subtitles necessary.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a Czech film, The awards it won & was nominated for were all
very well deserved.
It is about the true meaning of family.
Coincidentally the lead actor ZDenak Sverak also wrote the wonderful screenplay & his son Jan Sverak skillfully directed.
KOLYA (the title character is a 5 year old Russian lad Andrei Challman, this was the first appearance by this very bright boy, who is now appearing in a Russian TV series,He is now of course a teen stealing teen age girls hearts like he stole ours in the film.
The time period is 1988 & the end of Communism,Thankfully there is very little political stuff in the film.
The little boy is adrift & is helped by those around him mainly this middle aged lonely man.
There is much humour,some sadness & most of all a true sense of what family means.
The film is superbly acted & made. I highly recommend this.One word of caution, the very beginning is slow,stay with it & you will be glad you did .
Ratings: ***1/2 (out of 4) 95 POINTS (out of 10) IMDb 9 (Out of 10)
This film is compromise between excellency of Sverak and expectations of Americans (sorry :-). If it didn't get Oscar, I think not many people here in Czech rep. and Slovakia would be interested in it... there are much better films.
I'm puzzled why Hollywood never attempted a remake of Kolya. While I
was watching it I kept imagining Billy Bob Thornton in the role of
Louka, the lead character of the film. In fact, Zdenek Sverák, the
actor who plays Louka, actually resembles slightly the Hollywood actor.
All kidding aside, Kolya is actually pleasant viewing, the kind of sentimental middle-of-the-road, life-affirming fare that Hollywood seems to embrace when it comes time to pick out the Best Foreign Language Film nominees (See France's The Choir and Joyeux Noel as examples). This is not to denigrate its modest virtues, but really, this is the kind of film your grandmother would love.
Kolya is about a 55-year old confirmed bachelor who despite his age, can still score hot chicks half his age that look like they came from the pages of Playboy Czech Republic edition (probably not surprising since Sverák also wrote the screenplay of the movie). Denied a place in the national philharmonic orchestra for not being politically correct enough, he makes ends meet with a variety of odd jobs, including playing for cremations and restoring headstones. Still, Louka is heavily in debt, he needs a car and his mother is nagging him for money to repair the family house.
A gravedigger friend of his offers him the chance to make some serious money by entering into an arranged marriage with a Russian woman who wants to stay in Czechoslovakia longer. But the deal goes wrong when the "wife" defects to West Germany, leaving him in charge of little Kolya (played by cute but not too cute Andrei Chalimon), a kid he can't even talk to since he's not conversant in Russian.
One of the most notable things about this film is its subtlety. Unlike a Hollywood movie, it does not rely on too-obvious characterizations to show the transformation in Louka. In fact, Louka does not have that far to go in his character arc from commitment-phobic bachelor to potential family man material; he's not a mean man, he simply does not want the responsibility of taking care of a child, in the same way that he has avoided getting married to avoid commitment.
This subtlety extends to the ending, which follows its premise to its logical end. I won't tell you what happens, but you can probably figure it out. There are no big surprises at the end. But the filmmakers also allow for a happy ending for Louka, in a brief shot that you may miss if you blink.
My irreverence toward Kolya does not mean that I didn't like the film. It's pleasant enough viewing, not great but not bad either. Its probably most notable for the pitfalls it avoids, rather than what it actually achieves. Perhaps it's good that the film was never remade by Hollywood after all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This just confirms how nuts musicians are. Franta seducing virtually every woman he meets and the others fomenting revolution. They're all nuts. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Crazy is good. This is a wonderful movie and well, I don't know if the above mentioned behavior is really that unusual. Against the backdrop of the Czech Republic's move for democracy, a womanizing cellist in dire need of some money marries a woman to make a quick buck and ends up with her little five-year old. The musician is a very focused and serious guy when it comes to music; and women too; it doesn't seem likely that this confirmed bachelor will be much of a guardian. However he proves to have a deft hand with the kid and the relationship is wonderful to watch. The reunion with the mother at the end was tough luck for our musician friend but I suppose it was to be expected. Nevertheless, the moments that cement their friendship are great: the kid walking in on the guy and a young student who are about to get intimate, the kid kissing the musician, calling him Dad, asking him questions about trout and otters, taking the name of the Lord in vain. The relationship is really nice. Great movie.
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