Burning Bush on Palach´s sacrifice wins best Czech film award


22.02.2014 22:11

Prague - Burning Bush (Horici ker), directed by Polish Agnieszka Holland, about student Jan Palach's self-immolation in protest against the 1968 Soviet invasion of his homeland, received the Czech Lion award for the best Czech film in 2013 in Prague's Rudolfinum concert hall today.


Jedna z producentů filmu Hořící keř Tereza Palachová převzala 22. února v pražském Rudolfinu cenu filmových fanoušků. ČTK Doležal Michal

The awards are annually presented by the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA).

Burning Bush won in another ten categories, including the main ones - the best director (Holland), the best script (Stepan Hulik) and the best photography (Martin Strba).

Holland could not attend today´s ceremony but she thanked for the award in a video-recording.

Using the story of a young lawyer who represented Palach's mother in a dispute with a Communist apparatchik, the film Burning Bush presents the transformation of society from the mass tacit resistance culminating with Palach's funeral to the growing resignation and "normalisation" in the early 1970s when a tough communist regime was re-installed.

Holland studied film at the Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague at the time of the Prague Spring 1968 communist-led reform movement and she was involved in students´ protests.

Like Never Before (Jako nikdy) film by Zdenek Tyc was awarded two Czech Lions - for the best actress in a leading role (Petra Spalkova) and the best actor in a leading role (Jiri Schmitzer).

Jiri Labus won Czech Lion for the best actor in a supporting role in the film Clownwise (Klauni), directed by Viktor Taus, and Jaroslava Pokorna, playing Palach´s mother in Burning Bush, was awarded as the best actress in a supporting role.

The best documentary film award went to The Crooks (Smejdi) by Sylvia Dymakova, which uncovers the manipulation and humiliation behind the "product demonstration excursions for the elderly" in the Czech Republic.

Writer and scriptwriter Vladimir Koerner, 74, received Czech Lion for his outstanding artistic contribution to Czech cinematography today.

He has won many awards at film and television festivals and cooperated with a number of renowned Czech film directors, such Frantisek Vlacil, whose Marketa Lazarova (1967) was voted the all-time best Czech film by critics, Miloslav Luther, Jiri Svoboda, Antonin Moskalyk and Milan Cieslar.

Koerner in his books and stories focuses on an individual left at the mercy of history, mainly during the period of World War Two and the Nazi occupation.

The winners of Czech Lion have been chosen by the CFTA members. This year, 130 out of the total of 225 voted in the first round to shortlist the nominations out of 29 full-length feature and animated films and 17 documentaries that were premiered and released to cinemas in 2013.

The Czech Film Academy has organised the ceremony for the first time in its 20-year history after a dispute with producer Petr Vachler who founded the Czech Lion awards.

The award has also appeared in a new shape designed by artist Jakub Berdych. The new 25-cm statue weighing some 2.5 kilos is eight cm smaller and one kilo lighter that the original one.

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