Film director Agnieszka Holland: “I’m not interested in the great mechanisms of today’s history, but in the events of simple people, their souls, their ideas”
“This script was a gift to me, as it allowed me to go back in time, when I was twenty and lived in Prague. I personally experienced the events of 1968. Telling this story my way, evoking those past moments, has been a valuable professional experience, which allowed me to show the Eastern Europe of that time”. Film director Agnieszka Holland used these words to present Burning Bush at the Tertio Millennio Film Fest, at the Trevi cinema in Rome. The theme of the Festival is The days of the uprising. War, revolution and liberation.
The miniseries tells about the heroic gesture of Jan Palach, the student who set himself on fire to protest against the Soviet occupation during the Prague Spring. The government tried to pass it off as an accident. Instead, his mother started her personal battle to avoid that the memory of her son was cancelled. On her side, lawyer Dagmar Buresová, who was then appointed Minster of Justice in 1989.
Fifty years after Jan Palach’s sacrifice, Agnieszka Holland explains: “The period of communism in Eastern Europe is little known. Filmmakers and writers have told a lot about fascism, Nazism, while the experience of totalitarian communism, very far from the ideas of Marx and Engels, is little known. I believe that part of the problems we have in facing threats today depends on the fact that we have never learnt the lesson well”.
“I’m not interested in the great mechanisms of today’s history, but in the events of simple people, their souls, their ideas, their choices. For this reason, I wanted to accompany the public in a journey to discover how normal people lived this reality. It is easy to understand cowardice, but it is difficult to understand courage. I want to show why a person who doesn’t know to be brave can eventually become brave. We should never be faced with such a difficult and tragic choice”, added the director.
The screening at the Trevi cinema in Rome took place in cooperation with the cinema seminar “Eva Rosenbaumová” 2018, Sapienza University of Rome; with the support of the universities of Prague and Bratislava, the Slovakian institute of Rome, the Czech centre of Milan, the Embassy of the Czech Republic of Rome and the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Italy.