We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The act of self-immolation has a long and terrible history, from the National Mall earlier this year to Tunisia and Vietnam in times of political turmoil. On Jan. 16, 1969, at the end of the hopeful Prague Spring, a Czech history student named Jan Palach lit himself on fire in protest of the Soviet oppression of Czechoslovakia, launching a series of impassioned anti-communist demonstrations. In her new HBO Europe miniseries Burning Bush, Polish director Agnieszka Holland trains her eye on Palach’s legacy. The film focuses on the Palach family’s defamation lawsuit against the Czech government, which smeared Jan as a lunatic, and the charismatic young lawyer the Palachs hired, Dagmar Burešová. It’s a stirring historical drama and rumination on protest and despair, the subject of many of Holland’s other works, including the films Europa Europa and the Oscar-nominated In Darkness. Holland will discuss her adaptation of historical sources before the three-part series is screened in full. Agnieszka Holland speaks at 2 p.m. and the miniseries screens at 3:30 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215. nga.gov.