Burning Bush

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Czech Republic | 2013 | 230 minutes | Agnieszka Holland

July 25 - 31, 2014

Exclusive Engagement! This riveting thriller from Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa) examines the fallout from Prague student Jan Palach’s 1969 self-immolation in protest of the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. Winner of seven Czech Lion awards including Best Film, this epic production demands to be seen on the big screen, and is screened in it's original version as three 80 minute chapters with intermission.

In January 1969, university student Jan Palach set himself aflame in Prague’s Wenceslas Square to protest the Soviet occupation of his homeland. His brave deed and painful death sparked massive spin control by the Czech government and its Soviet overlords, rather than the expressions of dissent he hoped to inspire. Burning Bush follows this act through the eyes of Dagmar Buresova, the brave defense attorney who defended Palach's legacy in a doomed lawsuit, then expands to examine the beginnings of Czech and Slovak resistance against the occupation, reaching an apex with the mass protests during Palach's funeral.

This taut, nuanced work is a valuable contribution to understanding the past half-century of Czech history, and a compelling reminder that fear can trump idealism and that truth doesn't always lead to justice.

"A deluxe multi-character drama that blends real history with semi-fictionalized spy thriller and soap opera elements. We could almost be watching an Iron Curtain version of Mad Men." - Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

  • Original Language Title: Horící Ker
  • Director: Agnieszka Holland
  • Principal Cast: Tatiana Pauhofová, Ivan Trojan, Martin Huba, Vojtech Kotek, Jaroslava Pokorná
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 230 minutes
  • Awards: Czech Lions 2014 (Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Music)
  • Language: Czech
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Kino Lorber