Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. rights to Agnieszka Holland’s “Burning Bush,” which had been the Czech Republic’s official entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar before being disqualified.
The film is a 234-minute theatrical release version of a three-part mini-series that was broadcast on HBO’s European channels, which made it ineligible under the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules.
“Burning Bush” centers on Jan Palach, the Czech student who set himself on fire and died in 1969 as a protest to the the Soviet clampdown in Czechoslovakia and efforts by a young female lawyer — played by Tatiana Pauhofova — who defended Palach’s family in a subsequent trial against the politician who slandered Palach’s name.
“Burning Bush” screened last year at the Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals. It will open at New York’s Film Forum on June 11, before a national theatrical expansion during the summer followed by VOD and home media rollout later in 2014.
Kino Lorber also controls U.S. television rights which does not include any planned HBO broadcast in the U.S.
In her review for Variety, Alissa Simon called the film “a compelling slice of history.”