On 16 January 1969, the Prague philosophy student Jan Palach set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square to protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. He died three days later. He was 21 years old.
Was his act an epilogue or a highlight of the “Golden Sixties”? A film about innocence, naivety, loss of illusions and a fatal decision.
Using available sources director Robert Sedláček reconstructs the final months of Jan Palach´s life describing his path from affectionate son, devoted friend, sensitive and thoughtful philosophy student to the Torch number 1. The resulting film is an impressive and atmospheric memento successfully portraying an uncompromising young man who made the ultimate sacrifice hoping to rouse the nation from lethargy.
Robert Sedláček, CZ / SR 2018, 120 mins
Cast: Viktor Zavadil, Zuzana Bydžovská, Denisa Barešová, Kristína Kanátová, Jan Vondráček
Followed by Q&A with director Robert Sedláček
Robert Sedláček studied Documentary Production at The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 2006 he received the Czech Lion Award for the best script for his feature debut Pravidla lži (Rules of Lies) set in a rehab centre. Czechoslovak history is reflected in his documentaries Tenkrát, František Čuba: Slušovický zázrak, V hlavní roli Gustáv Husák and others. His other films include Muži v říji (Men in Rut), Největší z Čechů (The Greatest Czechs) a Rodina je základ státu (Long Live the Family).
He is also well known for his historical documentary series České století (Czech Century) produced by Czech Television. The series explores the background to important historical events in Czechoslovakia from the beginning of WWI to the establishment of the independent state of the Czech Republic.
Tickets: £7 + booking fee