This film had the Communist Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia for its setting. When Louka did not accept the Soviets' proposal that he work for them, he was sacked from the prestigious Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and he ended up playing dirges at funerals. But this did not dampen his naughtiness and free-spirited, devil-may-care attitude towards life and its vicissitudes until Kolya came his way. Precocious, innocent, fragile and desperately needing love, Kolya somehow mirrored Louka's inner personality. Through Kolya, he learned to take care of a soul other than his own. And through him, Kolya learned the meaning of trust and hope.
Together, the "father-and-son" pair learned to love each other and teach each other that friendship between two perfect strangers (belonging to nations of opposing ideologies at that) was possible. Allegorically, the movie tells of Czech peoples "marriage" with the Soviet nation which brought about an initially unwanted "baby." And since what had been done, cannot be undone, the Czechs had to accept things and move on (but not simply an acceptance that is blind to the terrible and sometimes ugly lessons of the past) and start anew.
The repeated theme on Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd, Christian symbolisms and images provided a clue that this was no ordinary film. Aside from people finding each other, it is about a God who constantly looks for us, finds us and takes us home especially when we have exiled ourselves too long and too far.
Excellent. Tugs at the heart and leaves lasting impression.
Trivia: The director and the main actor are real-life father and son.
Director: Jan Sverak
Cast: Zdenek Sverak, Andrei Chalimon, Libuse Sanfrankova, Ondrej Vetchy
Country: Czech Republic