Burning Bush (2013) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

HBO EUROPE presents BURNING BUSH BURNING BUSH PART 1 On August 21, 1968, the armies of the Warsaw Pact, led by the USSR, invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia.
They crushed the democratization process that had begun that spring.
Prague, January 16, 1969, five months after the occupation Call an ambulance! - Stop him.
- Mommy, he's burning.
Leave me alone.
Call an ambulance! What is going on? Step aside.
No, no, don't die Stand back, make way.
Stand back.
You can't go there.
Excuse me! Are you all right? - I don't know.
- You'd better come with us.
Briefcase What briefcase? What did he say? What briefcase? He left his briefcase by the fountain.
Tell them it wasn't a suicide.
It wasn't a suicide.
Jesus Christ.
It was gasoline, I smelled it.
- You were here? - I was standing over there.
Did anyone else see anything? It was a young man.
Comrade Major, his briefcase.
He took off his coat, then poured it over himself This was in it.
You shouldn't have touched it.
Vojta! None of you leave, my colleagues will take over.
What's going on? We're going to the office.
- You're the best lawyer in Bohemia! -Don't exaggerate! At least in Prague! I didn't expect it to go so easy.
The judge was a good man.
I'd say he just wanted to get rid of us.
That is also possible.
Will you go for a drink with us? I have to pick up my girls from kindergarten.
A student just set himself on fire on Wenceslas Square! Just below the museum, I was standing right by him! - Why? - To protest against the occupation.
He left a letter saying there is a whole group of them and if we don't meet their demands, more will burn themselves.
Who was it? I don't know.
- Is he alive? - I don't know.
- You saw the whole thing? - Yeah.
Come on, let's get back to the university.
- Are you OK? - Yes, I am fine.
- Are you sure? - Yes.
A man threw his coat over him.
I need to stop off at home, I'll catch up with you.
- Now?! - I have to.
I'll be there in an hour.
I'll give you a lift, I'm going your way.
Comrade Colonel, that young man left a letter.
Let me read it.
Our nation finds itself on the brink of despair.
We have decided to protest and rouse the people of this country in the following way: A group of us has decided to burn ourselves in support of our cause.
I had the honor of being selected first, so I gained the right to write the first letters and become the first "human torch".
Our demands are: first, an immediate end to censorship.
Second: banning of the collaborationist newspaper "Zpravy".
If our demands are not met within five days, by January 21, 1969, and if the people do not call a general strike, more "torches" will ignite.
Torch no.
I understand.
Well? We have to stop them! Find out who those kids are, who the hell talked them into it.
Do whatever it takes to stop them! This is what the Soviets have been waiting for.
If we can't handle this, they'll dismiss our government and take over.
We can't let that happen.
Any news from your mother? She called on Christmas.
I'll probably go to see her in the summer.
- And your father? - He might go, too.
Well, thank you.
Vladka, be careful On Wenceslas Square at 3 pm, a 21-year-old student named J.
attempted to burn himself to death.
We are still waiting for further details.
You hear that?! It's bullshit! You heard it yourself! They've been reporting it all evening! Jan wouldn't kill himself! This morning he told me his mom is coming to visit tomorrow! Well, where is he then? He didn't come to school today.
So he blew school off today, so what? Yeah, like Jan would do that! Milan A group of us has decided to burn ourselves in support of our cause.
I had the honor of being selected first There are more of them.
We have to report this! Wait! What do you want to do?! I better copy this In case they confiscate it.
No one called from the Science Faculty? That's Vladka's responsibility.
Where the hell is she?! She said she had to stop off at home.
Guys! The medical faculty is going on strike with us! Ondrej, I got the boy's name! It's Palach.
He studies history.
Didn't I tell you? Two weeks ago a boy came here, sort of shy He proposed that we take over the radio and broadcast a strike appeal.
What? His name was Palach.
I sent him away.
Zikova? Are you Jan Palach's doctor? Journalists have to speak with the hospital director directly I won't let you see him! He is fighting for his life.
He has serious burns on more than 80% of his body.
Is he conscious? Yes, but he received a high dose of Dolsin to ease the pain.
So he is conscious.
Doctor, Palach is not alone.
There is a whole group.
They want to keep burning themselves.
We have to stop them.
I can't let you in to see him.
In that case, you will have to talk to him yourself.
You can't ask me to do that! Don't you understand?! If we don't get their names from him, in a couple of days you'll have one of his friends here! If you question him now, you'll kill him and we'll never learn anything.
Can you get the door? Mr.
Palach, please go to the post office at 8 pm for an urgent call.
- Who's calling? - They said it was Prague, that's it.
Oh, thanks then.
Who was it? From the Post office.
I have a call from Prague at 8.
Where's my wallet? In the hall.
- From Jan? - I don't know.
Yes? It's connected, booth number 2.
Thank you.
Yes? Are you the brother of Jan Palach, born 8/11/1948? Yes Your brother had a serious accident.
He's in the hospital burn ward.
What what happened? We can discuss it in person.
Can you come right away? Yes.
What the hell do you want? Can't you see that we're closed? When is the next train to Prague, please? At 5 o'clock.
Can't you see there's a timetable? Leave me alone.
Good evening, we are broadcasting the radio news.
A police press report states that today around 3 pm on Wenceslas J.
, a 21-year-old student, tried to burn himself to death.
He poured a flammable liquid on himself and lit his clothes on fire, burning himself badly.
His motives are being investigated.
The Student Movement leaders will be meeting at Albertov at midnight.
We want to make a joint announcement.
Please be reasonable.
A great responsibility lies in your hands.
- Here you go, Comrade Minister.
- Thank you.
We want to publish Palach's letter.
Who told you that Comrade Minister, the people deserve to know why Palach did this.
The government is considering this option.
Comrade Minister, while the government has been "considering" a person burned himself! What are you waiting for?! There is no time.
Give us a clear answer: will you support us or not? I'll do everything I can.
You have my word.
Is this OK? Yeah, it's good.
should refrain from activities that could lead to social unrest - Hi.
- Hi.
Have you heard? Unbelievable.
A 20-year-old.
Do you think he'll survive? From what I heard in the hospital, it would be better for him if he didn't.
Mommy Lucy.
What is it, Lucy? A bad dream? It's gone now, don't be afraid.
Everything is all right, Zuzana, go to sleep.
I'll lay with you, OK? Dagmar? Keep the change.
Can you direct me to the burn ward, please? You need to go that way, sir.
- Where are you going? - I am Mr.
- Excuse me, you are? - Palach.
Unfortunately, I can't let you see your brother now.
He managed to fall asleep, that's very important.
Sit down, please.
Thank you.
What are the chances that he'll? His body is young and strong.
But still, anything is possible.
Where is our mother? Mother? - We found you in his address book - You haven't spoken to her? - Where does the mother live? - Vsetaty, close to Melnik.
I'll arrange an ambulance to drive you.
It will be best if you tell her.
No, no, no, no.
Go away.
- Good morning.
- Good day.
She must be at work.
At the train station.
Jiri, what are you doing here? Is my mother here? I took her shift today, she went to see Jan in Prague.
You just missed her.
- Where does the train stop? - In Neratovice.
- How much longer? - We are almost there.
- Good morning.
- You are up early today.
I am going to see Jan in Prague, we are going to buy him a new coat.
At Podolska or at Rosenbaum? TRAGEDY STRIKES Jan! Mommy! Mom! Jan Jan! It will be all right.
When was the last time you talked to him? Yesterday morning.
What did you talk about? The usual He didn't say much.
You didn't notice anything? Did he act strangely? You said he didn't have a girlfriend.
There's only one left.
So? That's enough.
Pack your things, you're coming with us.
Wait, there was a girl Who? Her name was Hana, from performing arts.
- Do you have them? - Almost.
What if they won't go to strike? The workers aren't stupid, the next "torches" might be their kids.
They feel taken care of.
Then we'll convince them they're not.
We need big factories, then more of them will join.
Ondrej, it's the radio.
Zbynek and the boys should go to Koh-i-Noor.
And to Motorpal.
I'll go to CKD.
I'll go there myself.
Where's Vladka? She still isn't here? Her Highness didn't even call.
- Vera, coffee.
- That's strange, isn't it? She's like that.
Here, take this to the Dean's Office.
First thing in the morning.
Vera, my coffee.
- Where'd you put the kettle? - All right, thank you.
Where can I find the Academy of Performing Arts? Just follow the sound.
and one hundred years old soil and awful great white clouds Sergeant, the sand is as white as Danielle's arms Wait for a while, my eyes have seen That very ancient second of forgetfulness Sergeant - signal and we will be sanctified Morituri te salutant Morituri te salutant I'm looking for Hana Cizkova.
That's me.
- Can I talk to you? - Sure.
My name is Jires, from the police.
You promised not to contact me at school - What? - Your colleagues promised me.
I am here because of your boyfriend.
Why, what happened? Your friends told us that you are dating Jan Palach.
Jan and I we are just friends.
When was the last time you saw him? About a week ago He didn't mention anything? No, nothing Nothing at all.
Damn it! How is he? He's still alive so far.
just one question Lieutenant Bocek, hello.
Go ahead, try it.
He might talk to you, Mr.
Wait outside, please.
Just two minutes.
Please keep that in mind.
Jan Jan Everything's going to be all right.
- Jan - Yes.
Jan Yes.
Turn right at the end of the hall.
- Hello.
- Hello.
My name is Bocek.
Doctor, please save him! I beg you! I beg you as his mother, please save him! - Mrs.
Palachova - Mom Nurse, get someone to take care of her! We'll keep your mother here for a few days.
Mom, for Christ's Sake! Let me go to him, let me in! Take her to room 16 for now.
Doctor, let me go! Your mother will be all right, we'll give her something to calm her down.
Palach Did he tell you the names of the others? Get out! Watch where you're driving! Go back to Moscow, Russian pigs! Where does it hurt? Learn to drive, idiot! His bike is smashed, he is bleeding.
the condition of Jan Palach remains very serious.
According to the burn ward at the plastic surgery clinic in Prague, his injuries are near fatal.
- Hello.
- Hello ma'am.
No one can doubt the purity of this boy's intentions.
Yet we cannot accept the path that Jan Palach chose.
For our socialist future, it is necessary to live, not die.
We should all keep this in mind and point it out to younger generations.
This was stated by the Members of the Communist Central Committee.
The boy didn't think about his parents, what he did to them by doing this.
It's odd how one suicidal psychopath can turn into a national tragedy.
Psychopath? You judged him pretty quickly.
Would a normal person do that? Normal What is normal? Are tanks on the streets normal? Are gunshots in town normal? We accept things as normal now that were unimaginable six months ago.
I am sorry, I apologize! My box was closed well! We've been through this before! You can't bring them to our meetings.
I'll try to catch it, I am sorry.
That's it for today.
The meeting is over.
Pavel See you later.
Dagmar, do you have a minute? Vladka didn't come home yesterday.
I dropped her off there.
She was at court with us.
She never showed up.
That Palach, he was from her class.
For how long can you join the strike? We can keep the trains off the tracks for a full day.
What if the railroad hires replacement workers? Where can you find 20,000 replacement workers? - Ondrej! - Hello.
- Is Vladka here? - Vladka? She hasn't shown up since yesterday.
- Do you know where she could be? - I wish I knew.
Ondrej! A call from the medical faculty! Excuse me.
We have a deal.
Let's go.
Vladimir, this is pointless.
Do you have a better idea? This could take all day.
Let's go to the police.
Trust the police? They're the last people I'd talk to! What then? Talk to all her friends? Maybe! I don't know.
She couldn't just vanish into thin air.
Dagmar, it's nice of you to come with me, but you should go back to the office.
Your shoes are soaked.
I won't let you go alone.
What if she really did it? Come.
Are you sure? And Legerova? OK, thanks.
Neither our burn ward, nor Legerova has any new patients today.
Thank you.
Are you still cold? Your feet are freezing.
How could you wear these shoes out in the cold like that? They wouldn't cover something like that up.
Not now.
I'll go back to the office.
Maybe she'll have shown up.
Thanks, bye.
Go with him.
- Thank you, bye.
- Bye.
Vladimir! - Really.
- No way.
Vladka! - Look where you're going! - Vladka! Do you think that Cizkova is lying? I don't think so.
She didn't date Palach.
I doubt she's involved.
It's just that What? She thought I was from the secret police.
- Secret police? - Yeah, she was pretty scared.
Do you think that she's an informant for them? Follow them! Drive to the other side! Stop! Stop! Who are you? What did they do? Excuse me.
They were distributing these fliers, Comrade Major.
Does the state deserve praise when the only option is blaze Let them go.
Leave them.
Go! The dispatcher called.
A girl burned herself in Jarov.
Look over there.
Jires, police.
What happened to her? She went to take a bath and the water heater broke.
They should have fixed this up a long time ago.
How is she? She was lucky.
It's just her legs.
Zemanova, we have to take your granddaughter with us.
- Let's go.
- You can't stay here alone.
- Good evening.
- Good evening.
Doctor! You have a visitor.
Who? Your daughter.
I let her into your office.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
I'm at my dad's office.
I'll be there around six.
Hi, dad.
What happened? Where were you, Vladka? With Vasek.
Who's Vasek? I told you about him God damn it, didn't you realize I was worried to death? I was afraid he might be the boy who burned himself.
He said he'd hurt himself because of the Russians.
So I went to him.
I am sorry.
Jan, are you in pain? I will give you an injection.
Hana Hana.
Why me? You need to ask him for the names of the others.
How is he? You're our only hope.
Wait here a moment.
Did he tell you the names? What? The names of the other "torches" You were there a long time.
Well, what did he say? I don't know.
Here you go, miss.
Swallow this.
He said something, but I couldn't understand him.
Two days to the deadline! And you've got nothing! For the past three days you couldn't even find out whether he had a girlfriend or if he just jerked off on his own! Don't you fucking understand what's going on? All over the country, Soviet soldiers are being issued live ammo! - Comrade Colonel - Shut up! We're almost at the point of getting more tanks on the streets! However this ends up, heads are going to roll.
Just keep in mind that I value my head more than yours.
Tell them I'm not here! Did you tell the major about your proposal? Go ahead.
I thought we could use that girl Cizkova.
Use her how? Lieutenant Bocek, unlike you, Major, was not too lazy to go through the files.
Two years ago Cizkova got caught smuggling LPs from Sweden.
So? The secret police investigated, but they dropped it unusually quickly.
They didn't even report it to her school.
Her record is clean.
How can we use this information? The hospital can confirm that she visited Palach.
But nobody knows what they talked about, right? Comrade Colonel, we can't ask her to You will give her this.
What is it? Palach's message to the other members of his group.
That no one else should do what he did.
She will read it on TV tonight.
I was with her in the hospital, Comrade Colonel She is one big mess! Pretty soon we could all be just like her.
Dismissed! Jarda, wait! I wasn't trying to do anything against you! No?! But now it's all on me, right?! We're not doing anything wrong! Come on.
I swear Jan didn't tell me anything.
His lips were moving but I couldn't understand him.
You like music, right? What? From the West, mainly.
My god, will you never let up? It was a couple of Stones records.
A few stupid records.
What do you think, doctor? I don't know, colleague.
He'll probably die.
Is there anything we can do? No.
It's serious.
His leg fell off.
We now interrupt our normal programming for this special report.
Joining us in the studio with an important message is one who has been by our side in recent months in our united struggle for true, democratic socialism.
Chess grand master Comrade Ludek Pachman.
Good evening.
And a student from the Academy of Performing Arts, Hana Cizkova.
I will now hand over to them.
Good evening.
Never before never has it been so difficult for me to speak as it is at this moment.
I would like to address several young people that I have never met.
I am sending you an urgent appeal not to continue in this deed.
I absolutely admire your moral values, and our entire history has never seen anything like this.
Just like you, I refuse to conform to a horribly warped "reality".
Just like you Just like you, I don't want You who are determined to follow Jan Palach Neither I nor anyone else has the right to command you.
I just want to make this request: before you carry out your intention Call me on the telephone.
I promise I won't talk you out of it.
I just want to talk to you as your older and, perhaps, more experienced friend.
My phone number is 253 For the future's sake, my young friends, the most important thing is to live.
And if we are not able to live it should not be as a result of something we did to ourselves.
Go and play.
Hana, you may speak now.
Hana, you may speak now.
I Jan Palach asked me to deliver this message.
My deed had a purpose.
I believe that it has served its purpose.
I am not appealing to or betraying anyone, but I want to explain my thinking today so that my colleagues will be able to judge my thoughts.
I am asking them not to do it.
It's better that way.
Try to save those students.
Fight by being alive.
Let's pack it up.
You were very brave.
Come on, let's wrap up.
Thank you.
You will never leave me alone, will you? You did the right thing.
Right? How do you know what is right? The right thing is to save those kids.
Kids? They are the last thing you care about.
You just want peace and quiet.
I couldn't care less what you think of me.
But remember, there can be only one version of what happened today.
If any other stories get out, you will greatly regret it.
Do you understand me? - Good bye.
- Bye.
We should issue a statement from the Student Movement.
What would you like to write? That we agree with Palach? That there should be no more "torches"? Yeah, we really need to repeat it.
Someone could have misheard.
What's wrong with him wanting others to stop? Then why did he do it in the first place? What's it all good for if he takes it back now? Can you imagine how he must feel? Do you think he is even able to think like that now? If he's not able to, then we have to.
And a stupid statement won't do it! What do you want to do then? I don't know.
You promised to join the strike! There's nothing I can do, they're scared.
How can they be so stupid? If we don't do anything, there will be more "torches"! They're not worried about that? It could be anybody, even your boy! Why are you trying to scare me? After yesterday nobody believes that.
Oh, please! Palach himself said no one should follow him.
The entire nation heard it.
It was on TV.
Why are you so sure they'll listen to him? Ondrej The CKD canceled the strike, too.
Palachova I have to inform you I am terribly sorry.
What kind of soup is it? This is Travnicek.
Thank you.
Palach died.
From the depths of my heart I thank you for your compassion and the silent remembrance you gave to my son Jan Palach.
The only consolation in my grief is the knowledge that my son sacrificed his life for his country, for truth and freedom.
I believe that his sacrifice will never be forgotten.
How many copies would you like? We will only answer official condolences A hundred should be enough.
A hundred and fifty.
Put the photo in the top left corner.
Thank you.
I'm going to need water.
Uncover him, please.
- Bye, then.
- Bye.
February 21, 1969, four weeks after Jan Palach's death Newspaper.
Mlada fronta.
- Hi.
Back to work? - Yeah.
What are you trying to say? That it's my fault? I'll come back in a minute.
Listen, Romana, I don't care.
Do what you feel is right.
But please call her sometimes, she's your daughter.
She may not be as mature as you think.
OK, Romana.
I will tell her that.
Take care, bye.
- I'm sorry.
I didn't know - That's all right.
Her mom remembered to call for once.
Do you need something? - Have you read today's newspaper? - Not yet.
The burning of Jan Palach was an act of right-wing extremists in cooperation with the Student Movement led by Ondrej Travnicek.
This claim was made at yesterday's pre-election meeting in Ceska Lipa by a member of the Communist Central Committee, Vilem Novy.
"Jan Palach wanted to pour a special liquid over himself, creating so-called "cold fire", but someone replaced the liquid with gasoline which caused him to burn," said Novy.
Dagmar, do you know what this means? No one can actually believe this.
That doesn't matter.
A month ago, he wouldn't have dared to say something like that.
A member of the Communist Central Committee.
You think he came up with this idea himself? They can't even fart anymore without Moscow's consent! And the newspaper prints it.
We are fucked.
Yeah, looks like it.
Pavel! Have them sign this.
I'll be back by lunch! - Hi.
- Hello.
- Hello.
- Hello, Ondrej.
We've come to see you, do you have time? Yes.
This is Mrs.
Dagmar Buresova.
- Hello.
- Jiri Palach.
This way.
I'd like to press charges against Representative Novy for libel and defamation of character.
I would like you to represent me.
Palachova I understand how you feel.
But considering a lawsuit maybe you should reconsider.
That Novy portrayed our Jan as a lunatic.
Nobody believes that "cold fire" nonsense, Mrs.
He lied.
That alone should be enough to support a lawsuit.
The investigation isn't over yet.
Novy will defend himself by saying that nobody knows the truth yet.
For God's sake! Everybody knows what Jan Palach did! Excuse me.
Can we have a word, Ondrej? Excuse me.
Was this your idea? Ondrej, what do you think you're doing? Do you realize what you're dragging these people into? What? Do you know who that Novy is? The one that you want to force into court? So what? Should we all just shit our pants? Go ahead and be brave.
But leave them out of it! You are 25, you can take it.
But Mrs.
Palachova is not 25 anymore! She has no idea what might happen! That newspaper article is nothing compared to what she'd have to listen to in court! He was her son! Yes.
And she has another one! Why don't you just come out and say it? Say what? That you're afraid.
Who the hell do you think you are? What have you achieved, that makes you so able to judge others? I am not judging you.
I'd probably do the same in your place.
Of course.
You think you're a hero, right? Excuse me.
We'd better go.
I'll go with you.
Palachova I am sorry, I If Jan's death had just been some unfortunate accident But Jan did what he did and we have to believe that it was in some way significant.
It was significant.
And this Novy doesn't change a thing about that.
- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.
- Do you want me to cut that for you? - No.
We've all almost finished our food.
I'm not hungry.
At least a piece of meat.
Have a piece of meat or you won't grow up.
I don't want to grow up.
- Come on, Zuzana! - No.
I've had enough! You'd be hungry if you hadn't eaten a chocolate bar before dinner.
- I didn't have any chocolate! - And now you're lying too! Fine, give it here! - What's going on, Dagmar? - Nothing.
Mom, Zuzana keeps crying Come.
Comrade Colonel, I'm convinced that it is our duty to protest.
Novy can't quote us as his source.
He didn't get any materials from us.
I will give your complaint to the secretariat of Comrade Minister.
Comrade Director, they are waiting for you.
I'll be back in a moment.
I've studied the documentation on the Palach case.
You did a lot of work.
I wasn't alone.
I wonder, do you think Did Palach have accomplices? So far, the existence of a group has not been proven.
I read that.
Your opinion? I think he was alone.
Otherwise, you wouldn't have complained about Novy.
What is this supposed to mean, Major? What complaint? Have you forgotten who you pledged to serve? Who put a weapon in your hand? I want to investigate this case impartially.
Why don't you investigate then? Why are you wasting time on useless complaints? The nation is waiting for the truth.
Go find it.