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"KOLYA"
(1996) (Zdenek Sverák, Andrej Chalimon) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild None Moderate None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Moderate Mild None


QUICK TAKE:
Drama (Subtitled): A middle-aged bachelor musician's life changes when he's left with a five- year-old boy who doesn't speak his language.
PLOT:
Frantisek Louka (ZDENEK SVERÁK) is a middle-aged, former cellist in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He now plays at funerals and fixes cemetery headstones, when not having flings with other men's wives or his fellow musicians such as their funeral soloist, Klara (LIBUSE SAFRÁNKOVÁ). Strapped for money and needing a new car, Louka agrees to a plan proposed to him by a gravedigger friend, Mr. Broz (ONDREJ VETCHÝ). His niece, Nadezda (IRINA LIVANOVA), is a Russian woman who needs to get married to a Czech man or she'll be deported back to her homeland. Though reluctant at first, Louka finally agrees to this illegal idea. It will be a quick wedding and they'll never live together, both of which please Louka especially considering that the woman has a five-year-old son, Kolya (ANDREJ CHALIMON). Things go awry, however, when the mother emigrates to West Germany and leaves Kolya with his grandmother, who then has a stroke. Louka ends up with the boy, not wanting or knowing how to take care of him, which is compounded by them not speaking the other's language. Eventually, though, the two grow fond of each other and the musician's life changes forever because of this.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
A subtitled Czech film about a middle-aged man and a boy won't be of much interest to most kids unless they like foreign or art house features.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ZDENEK SVERÁK plays a gruff, middle-aged man who not only has affairs with married women, but also agrees to an illegal, arranged marriage in exchange for money.
  • ANDREJ CHALIMON plays a boy who acts like a normal five-year-old would in a similar situation.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    Winner of the 1996 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, this Czech feature is a delight to watch. While it's simply a variation on the sudden, unexpected parenting plot -- think of "Three Men and a Baby" -- this feature takes a more mature, reserved, and ultimately human approach to the storytelling. Focusing on Sverák's crusty, middle-aged musician who's set in his ways, the plot allows us to watch the man first prickle at the thought of sudden parenthood, then bumble once he's resigned to it, and finally grow to love it. While all of that probably sounds like the basis and material for a broad comedy, this film approaches the humorous material in a refined, subtle way that's actually refreshing to see. Sverák is fabulous as Louka, and his resemblance to actor Sean Connery is amazingly uncanny. That actually works for the film and for his performance as it would be easy to see Connery's usual, no nonsense character "stuck" in such a predicament. Chalimon, as the little boy, is adorable and the charm he exudes also helps the movie. While the film's backdrop features the Czech revolution of the late 1980's, not a great deal of focus is placed on this other then to create a mildly foreboding presence that hangs over the characters and makes them justifiably cautious. Nonetheless, the film's really about the newfound father/son relationship, and it provides a simple, but enjoyable tale that most audiences should enjoy. We did, and give "Kolya" a 7 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Although it's doubtful many children will want to see this film, here's a quick look at the content. The main character has affairs with married women, and one of those encounters shows him removing a woman's underwear and we also briefly see that woman's bare breast. Louka also agrees to marry a woman to allow her to stay in the country illegally, all in exchange for money. This of course sets up the story that focuses on a young boy being abandoned by his mother in a country where he can't speak the language. Beyond that and some mild drinking and smoking, and a few objectionable words and phrases (all in subtitles), there's little else to object to. As always, however, you should check the material for yourself and/or for your children.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Someone orders more vodka (seen in the subtitles), but no one is seen drinking it.
  • After the wedding, champagne is opened and Louka appears a little inebriated.
  • Louka's mother pours him what appears to be beer.
  • Louka and a young woman have drinks.
  • Louka and Broz drink beer in a bar.
  • Louka and Klara drink wine.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Louka has affairs with married women.
  • Broz proposes and Louka finally agrees to marry a woman for money in exchange for her getting her Czech nationality papers. Later, after she's left, Louka lies to the police about the marriage so that he doesn't go to jail.
  • Nadezda hits the road and emigrates to West Germany, leaving Kolya behind.
  • Louka lies to his mother about Kolya's nationality, hoping that she'll take care of the boy, and lies to the police about the arranged marriage.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases (all in subtitles): "Idiot," "Jerk," "Screw" (non sexual), "Go to hell," and "Smart ass."
  • Louka "gooses" Klara, and later raises her skirt with his bow.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • The following is seen written in the subtitles: 3 "s" words, 3 hells, 3 damns, 2 asses, 1 crap, and 2 uses of "Christ" and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Louka and Klara in bed together under the sheets, implying that they've had sex (Also, she comments that she gets the hiccups when "it's" good in bed).
  • A young woman arrives at Louka's home acting like she wants music lessons, but there's no question as to why she's there. After she comments about Louka's cello, he says, "You prefer big instruments, do you?"
  • Kolya's full naked body (the five-year-old) is occasionally seen while taking baths.
  • Kolya gets out of the bathtub and walks up to see Louka taking a young woman's panties off, and as she spins around we see her bare breast.
  • It's implied that Louka and Klara had sex again due to her having the hiccups.
  • SMOKING
  • Kolya's grandmother smokes in several scenes.
  • People smoke in a bar.
  • A musician smokes as does a Russian soldier.
  • A police interrogator smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Kolya's mother abandons him in a foreign country where he doesn't speak the language, and he ends up living with Louka who doesn't appear to be pleased at all about his new house mate.
  • Additionally, Kolya's grandmother has a stroke and then dies. Several times he asks Louka to see her, but is told that she's "sleeping," and he occasionally cries over this.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The 1989 Czech revolution that is the backdrop for this movie.
  • Kids who "lose" their parents (by death or abandonment) and must then live with others.
  • VIOLENCE
  • None.



  • Reviewed September 10, 1997

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