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Kolya (1996)

Kolja (original title)
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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)
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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 child actor who plays Kolja, Andrey Khalimon, was not cast until three weeks before filming started. See more »

Goofs

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

Connections

Referenced in Vsechnopárty: Episode dated 12 January 2018 (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

American Quartet
(2nd movement)
Music by Antonín Dvorák
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Touching story with political commentary
28 June 2008 | by bandwSee all my reviews

This is a variation on the theme of an older man whose emotional life is reawakened by his being thrust into unexpected parenting of a young child. Many have complained of the exploitation of such time-worn subject matter, but the worth of "Kolya" lies in the particulars of how its themes are developed. After all there are still good movies made about underdog sports teams prevailing, and even the exact same material (thinking Shakespeare here) can be made fresh through different productions.

The man in question here is Frantisek Louka, the place is the Czech Republic, and the time is 1988 (just prior to the "Velvet Revolution"). Financial constraints tempt Louka to enter into a bargain to marry a Russian woman so she can get Czech citizenship and, it turns out, escape to West Germany to be with her lover. This leaves Louka to care for the child "Kolya." One thing that makes this movie stand out is the quality of the acting by all involved. In particular Andrei Chalimon as the Russian child is very natural and will win your heart as he does Louka's. But it's a slow process.

Another thing that sets this off is the political backdrop. I knew about Russia's occupation of the Czech Republic after World War II and the non-violent overthrow of the Communist government in 1989, but that is about as far as my knowledge went. This movie portrays what it was like to live in that environment in a concrete way that a history book cannot. A lot of little scenes exemplify the underlying tensions, such as Louka's being expected to display both the Czech and Russian flags in his window, Louka's mother refusing to let some Russian soldiers in to wash their hands by lying about her having no water, and Louka's purposeful refusal to learn the Russian language. So, this movie provided a small increment in my knowledge of Czech history and that's better than nothing. How the political situation drives the action makes for a singularly interesting story.

The musical score that contains works by the Czech composers Dvořák, Suk, Fibich, and Smetana adds a special quality.

Don't be turned away from seeing this because it touches on familiar themes; it is a quality film with unique characteristics.


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