Agnieszka Holland’s 234-minute docudrama, made for European HBO, focuses on the two martyrdoms of Jan Palach, the Czech student who set himself aflame in Wenceslas Square to protest the 1968 Soviet invasion. The first martyrdom was Palach’s self-immolation; the second was the regime’s attempt to efface his memory. Holland’s opening is sensational and, as if the narrative weren’t compelling enough, she keeps trying to top it for the rest of the movie with a hectic, hyper-dramatic camera style suggestive of her mentor, Andrzej Wadja, albeit filled with the sort of cheesy heart-clutchers to which Wajda would never have stooped and that the film doesn’t need.
For a list of show times, and to purchase tickets, please visit Film Forum’s website.
209 West Houston St.,
New York, NY