If you can find the movie Kolja, (pronounced Kolya), I would truly recommend watching it. It’s incredibly witty, yet dramatic. It’s a 1996 Czech film (with subtitles) that won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
František Louka is a grumpy, middle-aged bachelor and a struggling concert cellist who has found himself unemployed during the end of the Communist rule. To make a little extra money, his friend sets up a bogus marriage with a Russian woman (and her five-year-old son, Kolja). A series of events subsequently occur – as the woman flees to be with her boyfriend and the woman’s mother passes away, leaving Louka as the sole guardian of the little boy. Louka cannot speak Russian and Kolja cannot speak Czech, but this creates the powerful dynamic between them. Over time Louka’s personality softens, Kolja warms to his newfound “daddy”, and despite their minor understanding of each other, learn to communicate and form a wonderful bond. Their journey is sweet and emotional, and accurately illustrates the political turbulence of the era. The two are separated in the end, as the mother returns for Kolja; however, Louka’s mistress becomes pregnant with his child, and highlights the beginning of their new life.
It’s a gentle reminder of the power of communication, and our need for human affection – things I feel are often taken for granted.