Burning Bush (2013)
27 Jan. 2013Episode #1.1
Six months after Soviet block tanks crushed the Prague Spring (popular uprising against Stalinism), the occupation of Czechoslovakia seems without prospect. History student Jan Palach torches himself on a Prague square, incurring ultimately fatal burns, and leaves a message that he's only the first of series of 'torches' unless demands are met, calling for a massive protest and relaxation of oppression. Regular Czech student leader Ondrej Trávnícek tries to find out what happened to recuperate them. The national party is determined to handle the matter itself, fearing...
3 Feb. 2013Episode #1.2
Five weeks later, the next student tries to become torch number two, but reaches neither the public nor death. The authorities manage to prevent press reports on a link, which would undermine the official story, supported by Jan's blackmailed girlfriend, that his suicide was a 'fatally sabotaged circus stunt'. Student leader Ondrej falls in love with Dagmar, the Palach family's manipulative lawyer, whose competent colleague prevents a central committee party man to avoid any court case.
10 Feb. 2013Episode #1.3
Eight months after Jan's death, the family and stubborn lawyer Dagmar still refuse to face reality. The Communist authorities have found ways to blackmail or eliminate anyone standing in the way of the official story, that Jan was made to believe it was only a circus trick. So the accused officials are cleared, the family condemned to the legal costs, the student movement is muzzled. Yet the legend lives on in opposition circles, to play a part twenty years later in the Glasnost era revolution which will end Stalinism and the republic.