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Kolya (1996)

Kolja (original title)
PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Music | 24 January 1997 (USA)
Trailer
1:20 | Trailer

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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Jan Sverák

Writers:

Pavel Taussig (story), Zdenek Sverák (screenplay)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zdenek Sverák ... Louka
Andrey Khalimon ... Kolja (as Andrej Chalimon)
Libuse Safránková ... Klára
Ondrej Vetchý ... Broz
Stella Zázvorková ... Mother
Ladislav Smoljak ... Houdek
Irina Bezrukova ... Nadezda (as Irina Livanova)
Silvia Suvadová ... Blanka
Liliyan Malkina ... Tamara (as Lilian Malkina)
Karel Hermánek ... Musil
Petra Spalková ... Pasa
Nela Boudová ... Brozová (as Nella Boudová)
René Pribil ... Pokorný
Miroslav Táborský ... Novotný
Slávka Budínová ... Bustiková
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site

Country:

Czech Republic | UK | France

Language:

Czech | Russian | Slovak

Release Date:

24 January 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kolya See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,795, 26 January 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,730,711, 13 July 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The DVD version was the first officially published movie DVD in Region 2. See more »

Goofs

After Kolya becomes lost on the subway network and is trying to negotiate the escalator, he is trying to step onto the left hand side of the up escalator. However, from Kolya's point of view shot, he is trying to step onto the right hand side of the up escalator. See more »

Connections

Referenced in DVTV: Jan Sverák (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Hospodin jest muj pastyr (The Lord is My Shepherd)
(from "Biblické písne (Biblical Songs), op. 99")
Music by Antonín Dvorák
See more »

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User Reviews

A beautiful film
11 September 2002 | by Dan_HarklessSee all my reviews

I've seen a number of U.S. movies filmed in Czechoslovakia, but this is the first Czech film I've seen. Seeing this makes me understand how Czechoslovakia could have a fairly booming film industry.

This movie came on on cable network IFC and it first grabbed my attention because I didn't recognize what language the characters were speaking. Within a couple of minutes, however, the movie itself had hooked me, though it's not the type of story I'd usually seek out. Indeed I was late to work and really wanted to get going, but I was unable to tear myself away.

Beyond the great writing, acting, and directing, this film has some truly amazing cinematography. There are occasions where the filmmakers seem to have commanded the universe around them to get these shots. In one scene, the lead character looks up through his car's windshield as he's driving, and in perfect synchronization the reflection of the airliner he was looking at passes across the windshield. Even more amazing was the shot from well up in the air, with the lead characters' car driving up the road, a train going up a track in parallel to them, and a hawk (or eagle?) hovering right in front of the camera and then diving off to the side -- and they got this shot right at "magic hour". In Hollywood CGI surely would have been used to coordinate this ballet of elements.

There were also many shots incorporating wonderfully poetic imagery. One of my favorites was the lead character staring into the reflective doors at the airport which close and reveal him to himself, standing there utterly alone.

One more comment -- another reviewer called the ending "predictable", but I'd have to disagree. I really didn't know where the movie would end up, and in fact it was portrayed so subtly that I had to rewind the final scene to be sure what had happened, and then go back and re-watch a prior scene that contained a seemingly throwaway line that bears on the ending.


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