By Agnieszka HOLLAND

BETA CINEMA - as SALES All rights, World

Drama - Completed 2013

Based on real characters and events, this haunting drama focuses on
the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set
himself on fire in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia
in 1969.

& Awards

Toronto - TIFF 2013
Special Presentations
    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • CZECH
    • Duration
    • 206 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Agnieszka HOLLAND
    • Writer(s)
    • Stepan HULIK
    • Producer(s)
    • Antony ROOT (HBO Europe Production), Tereza POLACHOVA (HBO Europe Production), Tomas HRUBY (Nutprodukce Production)
    • Synopsis
    • January 16th, 1969. University student Jan Palach sets himself on fire in Prague‘s Wenceslas Square in protest
      against the Soviet occupation. Fearing public unrest, Police Major Jireš starts an investigation into whether
      Jan was part of an organized group, and if others will soon follow in his footsteps. Defense attorney Dagmar Burešová is defending leaders of the student movement, who are preparing for the general strike to support Jan´s protest. When Jan dies in the hospital, his funeral becomes the last massive act of public defiance against the occupation.
      Fearful of a popular uprising, the pro-Soviet government tries to discredit Jan´s sacrifice, with communist
      MP Vilém Nový publicly stating that Jan‘s death was intended merely to be a staged act, organized by foreign secret services. Dagmar Burešová is asked byJan´s mother and brother to represent
      them in court and sue Vilém Nový for defamation. That means officially accusing the pro-soviet government
      of lying…
      Dagmar forges ahead, but keeps running up against a wall of silence in her search for witnesses: the people are frightened of reprisals. Jan’s mother is tormented by anonymous phone calls, and even Dagmar’s husband, a hospital pediatrician, is fired from his post... Nový succeeds in having the trial repeatedly postponed; eight months after Jan’s death, it finally begins. Dagmar doesn’t know how the trial will end, but she does know
      that it will demand a great personal sacrifice from her.