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DVD Reviews: Kolya

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 30 July 2003
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 136 Minutes

Kolya is a Czechoslovak film about a bachelor musician called Louka who is about to experience an event that would change his life.  He is about to become a foster parent for a Russian boy dropped on his doorstep after his grandmother (his carer) dies whilst his mother is home bound in her native Russia because of regulations.

Firstly this confirmed bachelor agrees to an arranged marriage so that he could allow the mother of the child to stay in Prague.  This does not work out as intended and the mother leaves to go back to Russia.  The boy (Kolya) is left with his Russian Grandmother who dies from a stroke and it is up to Czech authorities to find a caretaker for the boy.  The most logical procedure of course, whilst the boy is in Czechoslovakia is to hand him over to Louka the husband of the mother.  Louka is suddenly given no option but to care for the boy. At first the bachelor does not take well to the idea of sharing his home.  After a while and a few dramas that would strengthen their bond they become family and the two begin to go about their lives as if they had always been that way. Soon the boy learns the language of Czech and after the language barrier is overcome, the two go on camping adventures as well as attending the rather grim workplace of Louka, the funeral crematorium. 

With a rather slow and tedious start to the film where there was meant to be humour involved.  Maybe there was, but none that caught my attention.  The Czech humour like Russian and German is very dry and will easily go over the heads of any Western viewer.  To those who can appreciate this form of humour you would undoubtedly love this film. Because of the subject matter and the charm in the film it could be said that female viewers would enjoy Kolya. Themes of the development of the main characters, Louka and Kolya involve understanding and allowance for growth in their lives.  Soon Louka becomes more like a father to the boy and thinks about others before himself. His girlfriend is one of the first to notice this and it is not long before the pair are best buddies. 

The Europeans enjoy a little hank panky frequently in their cinema and this movie is no exception. Being a bachelor musician has it’s perks I suppose and Louka has a series of romances before and during the early stages of Kolya’s care.  Ladies much younger than Louka seem to come knocking for lessons with an underlying agenda.  Apparent whilst the lesson is given “You like large instruments do you?” is the other reason for why women come for a bit of “tuition”. 

If you love foreign cinema and liked Much about a Boy or other film like this then this film would come recommended to all aficionados with an amenity for foreign film. Whilst it does say that Kolya is a comedy unfortunately for those not affiliated with East European humour would not enjoy the film. 

The special Features discuss the making of Kolya which gives interesting insight into how it was made. Interestingly the young boy chosen to be Kolya would not stop being happy even though he was playing the part of a sad abandoned kid.  Other details such as discussion of choice of actors, problems in production are talked about in detail. It is a shame the film is a little overly dull because the dialogue and pacing of the film is too slow to inspire a lot of interest in the viewer.  I could not bear the first few scenes of the film because it was just not interesting.  Maybe not enough intrigue and the fact that the type of film has been done so often before. Big Daddy being another similar movie without the slapstick humour. Yep this film is certainly in need of a boost of adrenaline and overall I give it a six.

Kolya Features

  • Behind the Scenes Featurette

  • Scene Selections

  • Madman Propaganda


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