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Kolya
     

Kolya

4.0 3
Director: Jan Sverák

Cast: Zdenek Sverak, Andrei Khalimon, Libuse Safrankova

 

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55-year-old Louka (Zdenek Sverak) is a gifted musician in Czechoslovakia who once made a good living playing in the State Symphony Orchestra. However, he has little use for the government, and after putting a playfully insulting statement on a government form, he's been banished from official music making. He ekes out a living by giving private lessons, painting

Overview

55-year-old Louka (Zdenek Sverak) is a gifted musician in Czechoslovakia who once made a good living playing in the State Symphony Orchestra. However, he has little use for the government, and after putting a playfully insulting statement on a government form, he's been banished from official music making. He ekes out a living by giving private lessons, painting gravestones with gold leaf, and performing at funerals. Louka also likes to chase younger women, a surprisingly number of whom are more than happy to be caught. However, when a friend suggests marriage to a stranger, Louka is unexpectedly willing to consider the matter. It seems that Broz (Ondrej Vetchy), a gravedigger and a good friend of Louka's, has a niece, Nadezda (Irena Livanova), with a young son who wants to stay in Czechoslovakia. However, she's a Russian citizen and lacks the proper papers. In order to stay, the young mother needs to marry a Czech citizen, and she and her aunt are willing to pay a "husband" for his troubles. Louka, hard up for cash and in need of a used car, grudgingly agrees to the arrangement and weds Nadezda. However, once she has her papers, Nadezda heads for West Germany to be with her boyfriend, and after her aunt unexpectedly dies, Louka finds himself in custody of his new "stepson," six-year-old Kolya (Andrei Khalimon). A confirmed bachelor, Louka knows next to nothing about taking care of a child, and he discovers that parenthood cramps his style with the ladies. However, Louka and Kolya soon become good friends, and Louka finds his outlook on life beginning to change, just as the "Velvet Revolution" sounds the call of a new era in Czechoslovakia. Kolya won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe as Best Foreign Language Film of 1997.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Directed by Jan Sverak (Dark Blue World), this world-class feel-good film from the Czech Republic tells the story of a middle-aged cellist whose life as a confirmed bachelor is turned upside down by a six-year-old Russian houseguest named Kolya. The premise develops with simple grace and charm, relying heavily on the brilliant performance of Zdenek Sverak (who also wrote the screenplay and is the director's father) as the aging ne'er-do-well musician, and the rather miraculous performance of Andrej Chalimon as the fearful young Russian boy. Child acting rarely hits this level: Chalimon is completely engaging without being precious, and the film hinges on the carefully paced, subtly drawn relationship that Kolya forms with his surrogate father. Indeed, Kolya nicely underplays all its themes. The film is flecked with the politics of 1988 Czechoslovakia's impending Communist downfall, but not dominated by them. And while Kolya's effect on this aging bachelor's life is ultimately profound, the film eschews moments of epiphany in favor of a gradually evolving mutual affection that seems all the more powerful because it grows out of the simplest realities of day-to-day life and never overwhelms the film's Eastern European melancholia. It's a formula that won Kolya the 1997 Oscar for Best Foreign-Language film, and one guaranteed to warm all but the stoniest of hearts.
All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
Set during the late '80s when the Czech Republic saw the end to the Russian occupation, the Academy award-winning Kolya reflects this transitional period of political change through a tenderly personal story. Screenwriter and leading man Zdenek Sverak is handsome in a rough Sean Connery way, a fitting look for his middle-aged bachelor character, Louka. To add to the separation between the two, the lonely little boy Kolya (Andrei Khalimon) speaks only Russian, a language Louka refuses to learn to speak, yet the two develop a carefully honest kinship. Louka's independent routine is continually challenged by the political turmoil of the time, which is best demonstrated by his growing relationship with both Kolya and his helpful lady friend, Klara. His reluctance to change is transformed just as Czech citizens are getting adjusted to the end of Communism and accepting a new life. Directed by Sverak's own son, Jan, Kolya is a believably touching portrait of the unlikely friendship between an old swinger and a young boy.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
1/2 It is a work of love, beautifully photographed by Vladimir Smutny in rich deep reds and browns, with steam rising from soup and the little boy looking wistfully at the pigeons on the other side of the tower window. It is said that American audiences are going to fewer foreign films these days. Missing a film like Kolya, winner of a 1997 Golden Globe, would not be a price I would be willing to pay.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/17/2011
UPC:
0031398138686
Original Release:
1996
Source:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:45:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Zdenek Sverak Frantisek Louka
Andrei Khalimon Kolya
Libuse Safrankova Klara
Ondrej Vetchý Mr. Broz
Stella Zázvorková Frantisek's Mother
Ladislav Smoljak Houdek
Karel Hermanek Actor
Irina Livanova Nadezhda

Technical Credits
Jan Sverák Director,Producer
Eric Abraham Producer
Alois Fisarek Editor
Ernst Goldschmidt Associate Producer
Katrina Holla Costumes/Costume Designer
Milos Kohout Production Designer
Zbynek Mikulik Sound/Sound Designer
Vladimir Smutny Cinematographer
Ondrej Soukup Score Composer,Songwriter
Zdenek Sverak Screenwriter
Sona Tichackova Casting

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits: A Day at the Office [3:47]
2. A Talented Bachelor [7:44]
3. An Unusual Offer [8:29]
4. For the Wrong Reasons [12:10]
5. A Wrinkle in the Plan [10:20]
6. An Unlikely Pair [9:06]
7. Like Father and Son [1:24]
8. The Interrogation [8:06]
9. Lost [7:18]
10. Koyla Gets Sick [12:11]
11. An Important Decision [10:20]
12. End Credits [11:42]

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Kolya 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful and unforgettable film. The child actor is truly gifted, and his captivating portrayal pulled me right in to his 'film life'. The cinematography is beautiful, and within a few scenes, I had forgotten that I was reading subtitles for the Czech. There was also a little German and Russian in the film, since I speak both of those, I enjoy seeing how they are translated for subtitles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago