Burning Bush (Czech: Hořící keř) is a 2013 three-part miniseries (also edited into a Compilation Movie that premiered later in the same year) directed by Agnieszka Holland. It is based on true events; namely, the self-immolation of Jan Palach in 1969 and the aftermath of this act. The plot of the series is centred mainly around Dagmar Burešová, the lawyer who represented Palach's family in a trial against the Communist government for defamation of character after representatives of the government had attempted to discredit him in the eyes of the public.
This series provides examples of:
- Artistic Licence – History:
- Ondřej Trávníček is not an actual historical figure, but a Composite Character representing several real people at once.
- In the series, there is a female student named Hana Čížková who at one point visits Jan Palach in hospital and is later made to read out a fake message written in Palach's name, saying that no one should repeat his action. In reality, there was a female student who visited him in hospital, but her name was Eva Bednáríková, and a message very similar to the one in the series was read out in public, but it was Lubomír Holeček, the leader of the students' movement, who read it, and to this day it remains unknown whether the message was fake or authentic.
- Based on a True Story: As noted in the introduction above.
- Break the Cutie: Hana Čížková is introduced early in the first episode as a sweet, unassuming young woman. Between the trauma of losing someone she deeply cares about and the pressure the police puts on her, she's put through the wringer repeatedly and just cannot seem to catch a break. By the end of the episode, she's a complete emotional wreck.
- Commie Land: The series takes place in Communist-era Czechoslovakia.
- Determinator: Dagmar Burešová agrees to represent Jan Palach's family, even though pretty much everyone around her tries to dissuade her from doing so, and she sticks to her decision regardless of the trouble it causes her.
- Downer Beginning: Episode 1 opens with a title card detailing the none-too-pleasant situation in Czechoslovakia after the end of the Prague Spring, followed by a graphic depiction of a self-immolation.
- Facial Horror: The series does not shy away from showing just what kind of damage fire can do to a person's face.
- Foregone Conclusion: Of course, considering that it's based on history.
- Hypocrite: Defied by Dagmar Burešová, who decides to go through with the lawsuit despite her initial reluctance in order to not be a hypocrite.Burešová: We keep telling the girlsnote that it's wrong to lie, that it's wrong to cheat, that they should be good ... but we don't believe it ourselves any more.
- Insistent Terminology: In the argument between Pavel Janda and Vladimír Charouz in Episode 2, one of the points of contention is that Janda objects to Charouz's word choice of "suicide" when referring to politically motivated self-immolations, while Charouz adamantly insists on the term. Somewhat unusually for the trope, it's not played in a comedic sense at all; rather, it shows just how much of a hot-button issue the whole situation is for everyone involved.
- Police Brutality: Against anti-government protesters.
- Starts with a Suicide: The series starts with a self-immolation.