Burning Bush is an “engrossing historical drama” about the tense and violent period after the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. Acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa) focuses on a pivotal moment in that era: the shocking act of protest against the occupation by Jan Palach, a student who set himself on fire in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on January 16th, 1969. The film follows the brave defense attorney Dagmar Burešová (Tatiana Pauhofová) as she defends Palach’s legacy in a doomed lawsuit, suffering endless threats and harassment from the Soviet regime. She receives aid from a sympathetic police officer (Ivan Trojan), but the levers of power start to crush her dreams of justice. Both a thrilling courtroom drama and a sobering history lesson, the three-part, four-hour Burning Bush is one of the major film events of the year.
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Ratings and Reviews
Critics Consensus: Burning Bush takes an engrossing -- and ultimately uplifting -- ground-level look at a real-life struggle against totalitarianism.