For the Genii commander from Stargate Atlantis, see Acastus Kolya. For the village in Iran, see Kolya, Iran. For the Russian nickname, see Nikolay (disambiguation).

Film poster
Directed by Jan Svěrák
Produced by Eric Abraham
Jan Svěrák
Written by Zdeněk Svěrák
Starring Zdeněk Svěrák
Andrey Khalimon (Andrej Chalimon)
Libuše Šafránková
Music by Ondřej Soukup
Bedřich Smetana
Cinematography Vladimír Smutný
Edited by Alois Fišárek
Distributed by Space Films
Release dates
  • May 1996 (1996-05) (Cannes)
  • 15 May 1996 (1996-05-15) (Czech Republic)
Running time
105 minutes
Country Czech Republic
Language Czech, Slovak and Russian
Budget CZK 28 millions[1]
(app. $1 million)
Box office $7.7 million[2]

Kolya (Czech: Kolja) is a 1996 Czech drama film about a man whose life is reshaped in an unexpected way. The film was directed by Jan Svěrák and stars his father, Zdeněk Svěrák, who also wrote the script from a story by Pavel Taussig.[3] Kolya earned critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[4]


The film begins in 1988 as the Soviet bloc is beginning to disintegrate. František Louka, a middle-aged Czech man dedicated to bachelorhood and the pursuit of women, is a concert cellist struggling to eke out a living by playing funerals at the Prague crematorium. He has lost his previous job at the Czech Philharmonic, having been half-accidentally blacklisted as "politically unreliable" by the authorities. A friend offers him a chance to earn a great deal of money through a sham marriage to a Russian woman to enable her to stay in Czechoslovakia. The woman then uses her new citizenship to emigrate to West Germany, where her boyfriend lives.

Due to a concurrence of circumstances, she has to leave behind her 5-year-old son, Kolya, for the disgruntled Czech musician to look after. At first Louka and Kolya have communication difficulties, as they don't speak each other's languages and the many false friend words that exist in Czech and Russian add to the confusion. Gradually, though, a bond forms between Louka and Kolya. The child suffers from suspected meningitis and has to be placed on a course of carefully monitored antibiotics. Louka is threatened with imprisonment for his suspect marriage and the child may be placed in a Russian children's home. The Velvet Revolution intervenes though, and Kolya is reunited with his mother. Louka and Kolya say their goodbyes.

Bachelor Louka ends up fathering a child with his girlfriend - perhaps a replacement for lost Kolya - and regains his position as a virtuoso with the philharmonic orchestra.

Principal cast

Role Actor
Kolya Andrey Khalimon
Louka Zdeněk Svěrák
Klára Libuše Šafránková
Mr. Brož Ondřej Vetchý
Louka's mother Stella Zázvorková
Tamara Lillian Malkina
Kolya's mother Irina Bezrukova


The film gained positive reviews.[5] [6] [7] [8]

Box office

The film was successful on a limited release[9] from 24 January 1997 and had taken about $5.73 million by 11 July that year after an opening weekend gross on three screens of $37,795.[10]

Between 28 July and 29 September 1997, more than 3.25 million tickets were sold to see the film in Germany[11]


See also


  1. Česká televize: Kolja - Co možná nevíte
  2. worldwideboxoffice: Kolya
  3. Thomas, Kevin (1997-01-24). "Father and Son Team Up in 'Kolya'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  4. "The 69th Academy Awards (1997) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  5. Maslin, Janet (1997-01-24). "What a Difference a Boy Makes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  6. "Kolya". Chicago Sun Times. 1997-01-27. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  7. Guthmann, Edward (1997-09-12). "FILM REVIEW -- Charming `Kolya' Has Magic Touch". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  8. Thomas, Kevin (1997-01-24). "A Heart-Tugger With a Czech Twist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  9. King, Susan (1997-01-28). "Jerry Maguire Ahead of Pack--Barely". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  10. Kolya: Box Office, IMDB, Undated.Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  11. Box office / business for Kolya (1996), IMDB, Undated.Retrieved 24 January 2016.

External links

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