The Pink Panther Snipes Again

Bad Movie Reviews with a Touch of Snark

Kolya, or: I’m Czeching You Out

9 Comments

First pick of foreign film-athon! This one is Kolya, Czech film and winner of the Foreign Language Oscar in 1996. A well-deserved win? Mmmmmmm…we’ll see. I’m sure the fabulous Christa has many thoughts about this too!

The Film:

Kolya

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A curmudgeonly old cellist must take care of his Russian wife’s child after she ditches for West Germany.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Based on the trailer and the emotional, cloud-watching from an airplane at the beginning, I expected this movie to break my heart. And it did…it just took a long time. A reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally fucking long time.

Basically, the setup is that Louka is a grumpy old man who plays cello with a quartet, mostly for funerals. Though he used to play with the philharmonic, Louka now performs odd jobs, like restoring headstones because he’s been blacklisted for Communist reasons (I think?). He is also a full-time creep, whether to the woman singing with the quartet, women he tutors, or random young women on the street. I think we’re supposed to take away from this that he’s lonely…but seriously, if you’re going to be that creepy, you shouldn’t be shocked when women stay as far away from you as possible.

{Insert eye roll HERE}

{Insert eye roll HERE}

So anyway…this is the gross version of The Concert (which is an excellent film AND stars Mélanie Laurent). That is until Louka’s friend offers him a way to make quick money: marry this young Russian lady who doesn’t want to get deported. Louka is super fucking skeptical at first, but ultimately agrees as the money will allow him to buy a new car. And in Soviet Czechoslovakia, “new” means “rust-free.” GUYS.

It takes almost 40 minutes for the ENTIRE PREMISE OF THE MOVIE to happen, but it’s pretty great when it does. The Russian lady’s son, Kolya, shows up on Louka’s doorstep as she suddenly left to be with her boyfriend in West Germany. Louka does his best to take care of the kid, but is at heart a bit of a grump. To be fair, the kid is kind of an asshole and won’t even take his hand to cross the street. SAFETY, kid.

Really relating to Louka at this moment.

I’m really relating to Louka at this moment.

Louka pretty much decides to continue as usual with things like giving cello lessons and being really shady. I’m sorry, but what do women find attractive about this dude??? He looks like the Czech Hemingway.

One of Louka’s last attempts to pawn the kid off on someone else fails when Kolya’s grandmother dies. So we get some different montages of really cute days out, honestly, and Louka being nice. Like he buys 5 tickets to a Russian movie so Kolya can see it. And he even speaks broken Russian over a loudspeaker in order to find Kolya when he gets lost in the subway. Now when Louka is calling women late at night, he’s asking if they can read the kid a story in Russian.

One of many heart-slaying moments.

One of many heart-slaying moments.

It turns out Kolya doesn’t know when his birthday is, so Louka invents one and gives him a violin. Everything is going just swimmingly, so of course this is when the social services office shows up regarding his claim from months before.

Not sure I’m selling this one particularly well, but the ending will rip your heart out and stomp all over it unless you are made of STONE. If you make it there.

The Critique:

The emotional moments of this film were so fucking successful, though it really doesn’t take much to overload my feelings right now. Let’s be generous and say it’s not me, it’s the film.

HOWEVER, if we hadn’t been watching for the blog, though, I probably would have given up way earlier and missed out on the emotional payoff. Louka was just such a fucking creep, and he didn’t really change that much through the course of the film. I expected the movie to focus a lot more on the evolution of the relationship between Louka and Kolya, but the growth was really just a series of montages (I need to stop using that word because now I have “Montage” from Team America stuck in my head). There were a lot of angry tirades about the Russians, the Czech government, and Communism in general. It had the warm fuzzies and political indignation of Billy Elliot, but I was totally lacking the context of what the hell was going on in the Czech Republic at the time.

6

Pretty sure you’re not really clearing anything up there, Louka.

Maybe if you’re less of a philistine or a better world citizen than I you will like this film.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Honestly, that is a rather arbitrary rating because I’m not sure how to feel about this movie.  When it was good, it was excellent…and when it was bad it was so damn directionless.

See what Christa thought here!

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Author: jilliansheilas

I like books, bad movies, bothering my cats, and Herbert Lom. Sometimes I behave like an information professional.

9 thoughts on “Kolya, or: I’m Czeching You Out

  1. Oh no! I feel sorry you didn’t enjoy this film! Maybe I fared better because I thought it was going to be boring and wasn’t really looking forward to the premise, and was therefore pleasantly surprised when it was good.

    I know that’s why I liked Brokeback Mountain so much, because so many reviews said it was sloooooooooooooooow and so I expected the worst. Or maybe my threshold for boring shit is just higher than some? That said I didn’t think it was boring at all.

    Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    I agree wholeheartedly that he was a pig, I’m glad it’s one of the first things you say about him, but I enjoyed their bonding. Is this because I’m a sucker for a montage? I think so.

    All in all, I dug it a lot. You’re no philistine though my friend, believe me on that one! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I guess you can appreciate the slow, deliberate build while I’m there like “Get to the damn POINT!”
      Brokeback Mountain, now that you mention it, I did find overly long. Plus I wanted Heath and Jake to stop punching each other. It looked painful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ps. Our film this week is A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night if you haven’t already seen it x

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahah I loved BBM. I loved them together and I cried for days afterwards. It was stunning. I guess I like slow paced things, they suit me because god knows my DNA is half sloth… there’s nowt wrong with being into getting to the fucking point though. Have you seen Under The Skin? I think it’s a corker but would be interested to know how you feel re: pacing x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Kolya (Film) Review | A Voluptuous Mind

  3. Wow, this already sounds like something I won’t be able to handle the ending to if it doesn’t end with them being pseudo father-and-son-the-end!

    Liked by 1 person

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