Franta Louka is a concert cellist, dropped from his orchestra and left to play at funerals. In order to make money he marries a Russian woman, who wants Czech immigration papers. She quickly jumps the country, heading to Germany, leaving her 5-year-old son with her mother. When the child's grandmother dies, he is sent to live with his stepfather Franta. It's a situation they both have to come to terms with.
The film that won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 1997, is a gem. Forced by the need for cash into a green-card style marriage with a Russian woman, Czech cellist Louka (Zdjenak Sverak, who also wrote the screenplay) suddenly finds himself sole guardian of the five-year-old son, Kolya (Andrej Chaliman), of a wife who has fled to Germany to be with her lover. With politics a firm background and basis for the story (though never dominating), the story neatly juxtaposes the situation of the once-welcome Russians being ejected from Czechoslovakia with the growing bond between Czech bachelor and abandoned Russian boy.
Gentle comedy, genuinely loveable characters (Chaliman really is the most endearing child actor ever), and a touching tale beautifully put together combine to make this one of the gems of last year.