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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).

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Film poster
Directed byJan Svěrák
Written byZdeněk Svěrák
Produced byEric Abraham
Jan Svěrák
StarringZdeněk Svěrák
Andrey Khalimon (Andrej Chalimon)
Libuše Šafránková
CinematographyVladimír Smutný
Edited byAlois Fišárek
Music byOndřej Soukup
Bedřich Smetana
Distributed bySpace Films
Release date
  • May 1996 (1996-05) (Cannes)
  • 15 May 1996 (1996-05-15) (Czech Republic)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryCzech Republic
LanguageCzech, Slovak and Russian
BudgetCZK 28 millions[1]
(app. $1 million)
Box office$7.7 million[2]

Kolya (Template:Lang-cs) 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]


  • Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Czech Lion
    • Best Film
    • Best Director (Jan Svěrák)
    • Best Actress (Libuše Šafránková)
    • Best Supporting Actor (Andrei Chalimon)
    • Best Screenplay (Zdeněk Svěrák)
    • Best Editing (Alois Fišárek)
  • Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix

See also[]

  • List of submissions to the 69th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
  • List of Czech submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film


  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". 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[]

Template:Jan Svěrák

Template:Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film 1990–2009 Template:CzechLionBestFilm