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Czech Republic 1996
Directed by
Jan Sverak
105 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


A family project (the director's father was the writer and also plays the lead, Franta Louka ), Kolya sets out to be an endearing tale and succeeds unequivocally winning the Best Foreign Film Oscar in the year of its release along with a slew of other awards around the world.

Franta Louka (Zdenek Sverák) is a concert cellist, a confirmed bachelor and a ladies' man. Having lost his place in the State orchestra, he must make ends meet by playing at funerals and painting tombstones. But he is in debt and debt and when a  friend suggests a scheme for making a lot of money by marrying a Russian woman so that she can get her Czech papers, he agrees. She however skips out to West Germany, leaving her five-year-old son with his new stepfather.

Whilst some of the poignancy is probably lost to those who have not experienced the background events (the Russian occupation of the Czech Republic during the late 1980s) there is still much that appeals in this beautifully-crafted story of the better side of human nature and which features a marvellous performance from the 5 year old Andrej Chalimon as Kolya.




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