By Andrea K. Hammer
Koyla, the Czech drama with an outstanding performance by the charming young actor Andrey Khalimon, shows how a child can completely transform the life of a philandering man.
The film, directed by Jan Svěrák, features his father, Zdeněk Svěrák, who also wrote the script from a story by Pavel Taussig. Kolya won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Free-to-Be-Me Musician Playing His Own Notes
Playing the always late-for-rehearsals cellist Louka (Zdeněk Svěrák) captures the free-to-be-me attitude of a man living on his own. From using the same tired lines while making calls to arrange a series of rendezvous to opening his nearly empty refrigerator, this musician is clearly determined to play his own notes. Life starts to change when in need of cash, Louka reluctantly agrees to an arranged marriage, and the woman leaves her son alone in his care.
Young Actor’s Wide-Eyed Expressions Speak Volumes
Equally stubborn, the young Kolja (Andrey Khalimon) is a study in similarities and contrasts with Louka. At first refusing to enter his apartment, the tearful little boy’s wide-eyed expressions speak volumes in seemingly small but big-impact scenes. From initially refusing to change into slippers or hold Louka’s hand while crossing streets, Kolja slowly relaxes into his new home while pigeons visit at a window, and he listens to bedtime telephone stories in his own language.
Moving Scenes as Characters’ Rough Edges Soften
As the two characters gradually become attached to each other, their rough edges soften. Particularly moving scenes in the Czech drama Koyla include their separation on a train and later reunion, tender gestures such as Kolja lovingly pulling Louka’s ear and the unexpected final scene.
With the completely commanding and magnetic presence of young actor Andrey Khalimon and the nuanced performance of Zdeněk Svěrák, the Czech drama Koyla conveys how love can radically alter previously disconnected lives.