Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(Kolja, Czech Republic, 1996)

Louka is a cellist who, because of an ill-advised political statement, has been reduced to playing dirges in the balcony at funerals, before the coffin is rolled into the crematorium. These were the days before the Velvet Revolution, when the Soviets were still in control of Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries.

He is persuaded into a sham marriage with a Russian woman, because this is the only way a Russian citizen can travel to the West. She leaves for West Germany, but has to leave her five-year-old son behind with the crotchety old bachelor. Kolya doesn’t speak Czech, but soon learns it. And it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the two eventually hit it off. This Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language movie is sincere, entertaining, and entirely predictable. I’m sure I won’t remember a thing about it in a year.