The film follows Czech student Jan Palach, a political activist who, in 1968, set himself on fire to protest the Soviet clampdown during the period of post-World War II political openness in Czechoslovakia. The film also follows his family’s legal efforts to clear his name, focusing on a young female lawyer who led the legal fight.
“‘Burning Bush’ encapsulates my own, crucial, personal experience (I was a student in Prague during this period) and at the same time, tells an important and exciting story for many people –– for an entire nation and even beyond it,” said Holland. I always wanted to show the cruelty of soft and corrupting oppression in the communist countries. The conformist cowardliness of many, as well as the courage of the few who went against the stream.”
The feature version was shown at the Toronto, Telluride, and New York Film Festivals. The miniseries version will open at New York’s Film Forum on June 11 before a national theatrical expansion during the summer and a VOD and home media release in 2014.