Wenceslas Square (in Czech, Vaclavske namesti) is a business and cultural centre of the city of Prague. Wenceslas Square has its origins in 14th century when King Charles IV founded the New Town in 1348. Director Agnieszka Holland's TV mini-series about Jan Palach, who burnt himself to death 44 years ago in protest against the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, premieres in Prague, Wednesday.
Agnieszka Holland, whose last film In Darkness won numerous awards in Poland and abroad, was involved in the student protest movement in Czechoslovakia at the time of the so-called Prague Spring, while a student of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. The three episode film, Burning Bush, had its press screening at the Grand Hall of Prague University, where Jan Palach studied history. He was just 20 years-old when he burnt himself to death in protest against the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
Referring to her own time in Czechoslovakia, Agnieszka Holland said that the events following Palach’s death deprived her of any lingering illusions about communism. The movie follows the transformation of society from mass resistance against the communist regime to growing resignation and normalization. Produced by HBO Europe, the film will be shown at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam on 30 January, followed by television screenings in many countries, including Poland next month. Burning Bush is dedicated to four people who burnt themselves to death in protest against the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Jan Palach, Jan Zajic, Evzen Plockov and Poland’s Ryszard Siwiec. In Darkness is the gripping true story of Leopold Socha, a Polish sewer worker in Lvov who keeps a group of Jews hidden in the sewers under the noses of the occupying Nazi forces, bringing them food and supplies, and saving them from the Holocaust.
One of the Italian critics referred to Leopold Socha,the courageous worker who first sheltered the Jews for money but whose motives became gradually purer, as the Polish Schindler. Poland is represented by 240 athletes from 23 disciplines at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which kick off on Friday.
Wenceslas Square used to be a Horse Market and the nearby Charles Square, the biggest square in Prague, was a House Market. The Horse Market kept its nane until 19th century when during the national revival movement a need for more suitable names came. Once the statue of the horse with St Wenceclas was placed there the square was renamed. Several important events took place at the square in the 20th century.
In 1918 Alois Jirasek, a famous Czech writer, read a proclamation of independence of Czechoslovakia to the people. On 16 January 1969 Jan Palach, student at the Faculty of Arts, demonstratively set himself on fire here to prostest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the army of the Soviet Union in 1868.
Its construction was finished in 1890, nowadays the building is being thoroughly reconstructed.
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