Based on real characters and events, this drama focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in protest against the Soviet occupation ...
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Based on real characters and events, this drama focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. Dagmar Buresová, a young female lawyer, became part of his legacy by defending Jan's family in a trial against the communist government, a regime which tried to dishonor Palach's sacrifice, a heroic action for the freedom of Czechoslovakia. Written by
I just viewed this at the Philadelphia Film Festival, and I am still reeling. This movie packs a wallop, I was on the edge of my seat for the whole viewing. The four-plus hours (including two well-timed intermissions) flew by. The Burning Bush is well worth your time.
The story has multiple characters, is complicated and intricate. In light of the current attention given to bullying, this is a primer of institutional and political bullying against private citizens by an occupying force, and of how that poison spread to local government officials. The depth of emotions, the short-sightedness of those in control, and the long-term fallout of decisions are all explored in depth.
Holland's deft hand at keeping these many balls in the air, of not going overboard with personalities, and in maintaining the viewer's interest, is the sign of a true master. The cinematography, pacing, and acting are superb. This exploration of the power of martyrdom, or, better stated, the making of a martyr, is most powerful because it presents various points of view and subsequent decisions made, radiating outwards from Jan Palach's desperate act of defiance.
If you have the chance to see this, make the time.
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