One of the best things about being a critic is seeing a movie before there
is any press on it so you get to 'discover' what the movie is about without
anyone telling you. But in order to tell you about "Kolya" I'm
going to have to take that discovery away from you. It wasn't until the
marriage scene that I realized that this cosmopolitan, sophisticated film
wasn't about the philanderings of a middle-aged cellist, but about how his
life would be changed forever by a little boy.
Louka has been banned by the Russian-directed Czech bureaucracy from playing
in his beloved symphony, so he makes his living playing at funerals and
picking up odd jobs. His latest odd job is a marriage of convenience to
a Russian woman with a six year-old son. Complications ensue, not the least
of which is the 1989 Velvet Revolution. But there is a warmth behind the
womanizing bachelor portrayed by Zdenek Sverak and a sweetness that is never
syrupy in Andrej Chalimon, a real six year-old Russian kindergartner.
When I heard that "Kolya" was a collaboration between father and
son, I pegged the father as director and I was wrong. Jan Sverak worked
with his actor-father on the Oscar nominated "Elementary School"
and they appeared together at this year's Golden Globe Awards to accept
the award for best foreign film. They should be get themselves ready for
March 28th because "Kolya" has been nominated in the Academy Awards
Foreign Film category. No rating, English subtitles, from Miramax
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