The 2018 biographical film "Jan Palach" directed by the Czech filmmaker Robert Sedlacek has been screened on the second day of the Congress of Young Europeans in Prague.
The 124-minute movie was officially premiered on 21st August in Czech Republic. Its director, Robert Sedlacek is a distinguished screenwriter who has studied documentary film at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and is known for his political documentaries.
Jan Palach was a student of history and political economy at Charles University in Prague who tragically committed suicide through self-immolation on 19th January 1969 in protest against the end of Prague Spring caused by the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies. He was only 21 when he died.
Palach is adored as a national hero in Czech Republic and his memorial in front of the National Museum is visited by thousands of people every year. A town square in the Old Town of Prague is named after Jan Palach, considered to be an icon of fighting for freedom and democratic values. The square is called Náměstí Jana Palacha in Czech language.
Several self-immolations have been inspired by Jan Palach's act and his media popularity. In April and March 2003, six young Czechs put themselves on fire and committed sucide, notably the 19-year-old student Zdeněk Adamec. It's said that he burned himself to death, despite attempts made by the police to rescue him, in protest against corruption in Czech and the Iraq War.
Five other incidents of self-immolation happened between 1990 and 1999 in Czech Republic,
Congress of Young Europeans, run by the Heinrich Boll Foundation, showed the inspirational film, narrating Palach's life and youth years, to its participants in its second day. The venue for the screening was Kino Atlas.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation, Green European Foundation, the Federation of Young European Greens, the Cooperation and Development Network and the Czech Young Greens organized the 6th edition of the Congress of Young Europeans hosted by Prague this year. The previous congress was held in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.