Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

Agnieszka Holland's "Burning Bush" Raises Not-so-historical Spectre of Russian Occupation

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik June 11, 2014 at 10:18AM

It wasn't so long ago that Russian tanks were rolling through Eastern Europe and subjugating their neighboring country's peoples. Oh, wait: that was just a couple months ago in Ukraine. But Agnieszka Holland's wonderfully engaging miniseries,"Burning Bush" (opening theatrically at New York's Film Forum today), set in Prague 1969, takes this historical moment to create a sensitive and resonant account of Russian totalitarianism that should feel all too familiar.
0

It wasn't so long ago that Russian tanks were rolling through Eastern Europe and subjugating their neighboring country's peoples. Oh, wait: that was just a couple months ago in Ukraine. But Agnieszka Holland's wonderfully engaging miniseries,"Burning Bush" (opening theatrically at New York's Film Forum today), set in Prague 1969, takes this historical moment to create a sensitive and resonant account of Russian totalitarianism that should now feel all too familiar. 

burning bush

From my review in the Utne Reader this month: 

Five months after Russian tanks invaded Czechoslovakia, a student named Jan Palach set himself on fire to protest the occupation. Burning Burn tells the suspenseful tale of what followed. A sprawling account, shrouded in fear, paranoia and moral ambiguity, the film follows several individuals affected by Palach’s act of resistance: his grief-stricken mother and brother; their shrewd female lawyer and her husband; the student activists who support him; the investigating police who want to prevent further acts of immolation and unrest; and a Communist party member who exploits Palach’s death. 

And they are all, as one character says, “stuck between mill stones.” Originally produced as a three-part miniseries for HBO Europe, this first-rate political drama is like a great novel, both emotionally and intellectually satisfying, and filled with an array of complex characters caught within the throes of a tumultuous history.

Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Bob Connors: The thing to remember is the video has some actual data but it's conclusions are far fetched and inaccurate. This is a Progressive propaghand…

Who is "Politizane" and What's Next for the Income Inequality Viral Video

Mar 21th, 2015 8:47am

By Ostlee: This makes very sad reading - i feel for the people of Maldives. Everyone should boycott the island as a holiday destination until Nasheed…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 13th, 2015 5:35pm

By Ahmed Shahid: Release the first democratically elected president. The only president of Maldives who has reached the people of Maldives, heard them and…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 12th, 2015 9:37am

By Hanne Neve: Please take care of your country and the climate by freeing your real selektet president.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 11th, 2015 9:09am

By Iqbal: Please release President Nasheed

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:27pm

By Martha Robertson: I strongly urge the immediate release of Nasheed!

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 9:37pm

By Ned Rollins: Bad business, going to bite you.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 3:47pm

By John Painter: The guy isnt a terrorist.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 12:00pm

By Sofia Vera: I support Presdient Nasheed and add my name to this letter of support for his release.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 11:14am

By Margarett R Mulkey: A civilized society is required of the current government of the Maldives. The world is watching injustice and crimes, and many realized thes…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:53am