"A compelling slice of history. A taut, nuanced work.” - Alissa Simon, Variety
Agnieszka Holland is an extraordinarily gifted and versatile filmmaker and although the events depicted in BURNING BUSH occurred forty-five years ago, the issues it explores are entirely relevant today. Acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland returns to a pivotal time in modern Czech history: the shocking act of a student of the Charles University's Faculty of Arts, who in protest of the Soviet occupation, set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square on the 16th of January in 1969 and died four days later. Through the story of the brave defense attorney Dagmar Buresova, who defended Jan Palach's legacy in a doomed lawsuit, the film examines the transformations taking place in Czechoslovak society after the invasion of the armies of the Warsaw Pact in August of 1968. It depicts the beginnings of Czech and Slovak resistance against the occupation, which reached its apex with the mass protests during Palach's funeral. It also shows the nation's gradual resignation under the pressure of fear and harsher persecution.
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Saw the first 160 minutes at Film Forum. Now hoping to get into Kandor to see the rest. It's brilliant. Brilliantly acted and directed. And who could do it better than a Polish director? The Poles have more experience with police oppression than anyone else and they make art of it!
Brilliantly written and performed account of the way a police state warps every facet of a society. Truth and justice can be destroyed so easily.