The morning of January 16, 1969 seemed like it would be a regular Thursday in Prague, that is if there was anything "regular" about living in a country that had been occupied by the Soviet Union. On that day, 21 year old student Jan Palach decided it was time to remind his countrymen that they were being demoralized by the occupying forces, his mean of protesting was to set himself on fire in the middle of busy Wenceslas Square. Palach's self immolation was part of a collective protest, which warned the government that more young men would repeat his actions until the Soviets left Poland.
Renowned filmmaker Agnieszka Holland was a college student around the time and the event left such an impression on her that she chose to make it the starting point to build the epic Burning Bush. The four hour long film (it was broadcast as a miniseries in Europe) is one of the most impressive chronicles of modern history captured on film and it was rightfully chosen as the Czech submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Holland talked about the making of the film during a press conference at the New York Film Festival.