fbpx Jan Palach | Gene Siskel Film Center
Film Series : Czech That Film

Jan Palach

2018, Robert Sedláček, Czech Republic, 124 min.
With Victor Zavadil, Denisa Barešová

Show Times

  • Fri, Jun 14th 8:00pm
  • Thu, Jun 20th 7:45pm

“Director and writer steer away from hagiography, sensationalism or dry political drama to tell the human story.”—Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia

JAN PALACH portrays the final critical months in the life of “Torch Number One,” the Czech national hero who died by self-immolation in Wenceslas Square to protest the 1968 Soviet occupation of his country. Director Sedláček eschews reverence and mythology for an engaging psychological study of the 20-year-old philosophy student’s path to political martyrdom. Jan (a nuanced performance by Zavadil) and his university friends are buoyed by the promise of the Prague Spring, but their idealism is short-lived. A passive loner who can stand up for the bullied when provoked, Jan struggles with the ideological contradictions in his own family background as he methodically develops a furtive plan for solitary resistance. In Czech with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)

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