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114 Ratings

Burning Bush (Part 1)

Horící ker

Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Czech Republic, 2013
Drama, Biography, TV Mini-series


Student Jan Palach sets himself on fire at Wenceslas Square in Prague in January 1969, insisting that there will be other ‘torches’ unless the oppression of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces is relaxed.

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Burning Bush (Part 1) Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Holland never risks overlooking the hardship that comes with being on the right side of history. “Burning Bush” is a riposte to the idea that there’s anything beautiful about dying for your beliefs. Lindsay Anderson once wrote that “Revolution is the opiate of the intellectuals,” and Holland has never partaken. She’s never allowed herself to get swept up in the romance of change, never turned a blind eye to how desperate life can look when the powers that be have decided it isn’t worth anything.
June 13, 2014
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Burning Bush is a deeply complex film, or television series; its formal identity depends on how one consumes it, and this will inevitably expand or retract its complications in different ways…
June 12, 2014
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Holland, a political filmmaker who did her best work (Europa Europa; Olivier, Olivier) in the ‘80s and ’90s, sometimes directs with a heavy hand—a scene in which Palach’s mother receives horrific photos of her son’s charred corpse gets awfully amped up with the sound of a screaming infant in the background, for example. On the whole, though, Burning Bush is an absorbing docudrama that maintains a gratifying equilibrium between hope and cynicism.
June 11, 2014
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