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Archive for August, 2012

Not long ago, The British Film Institute issued its Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time List, the top place going to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. But what’s this? Not far down the list, coming in at number 35, is a film with a Hungarian title, directed by one of Hungary’s top living directors. We speak of none other than Béla Tarr and his film Sátántangó. That’s rated above such better-known films as François Truffaut’s 400 Blows and Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot.

While Béla is well-known in Hungary, his fame abroad is somewhat limited to art-house cinema lovers and other film directors. Gus Van Sant, for example, is said to have been greatly influenced by Tarr’s style, in his long, atmospheric shots, particularly in his films Gerry and Elephant. Other critics have likened Tarr to John Cassavetes for his use of social realism (though Cassavetes, we will add, didn’t make it onto the BFI list at all). Followers of international festivals will note that Tarr’s most recent film, The Turin Horse, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival last year.

Béla Tarr photo by Soppakanuuna via Wikipedia

Though Tarr’s fame and reputation are only growing, you won’t see him moonlighting as a director of Coke commercials or guest directing on Breaking Bad anytime soon. Sátántangó is an epic 7½ hour black and white tale of communal farmers making a go of it in the Hungarian countryside, and includes multiple long, unbroken shots with little or no dialog or physical action. Interestingly, the author of the novel upon which the film is based, László Krasznahorkai, is recently coming into quite a bit of fame himself, due to the fantastic amount of hype surrounding the American release of his novel  Sátántangó (but more on László Krasznahorkai in another post).

Though Hungary is not well represented in the BFI list outside of Tarr’s contribution (what about Mephisto?) it is a huge accomplishment for this epic film by this living legend.

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

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photo by Arnold Wells, via Wikipedia

Not long ago, we watched Woody Allen’s Time Magazine interview on YouTube, where he discusses shooting portions of his film Love and Death in Budapest. In the interview, he describes the city as ‘drab.’ It is a characterization that, though we disagree, may have been influenced by the fact that Allen shot his pic way back in 1975, when Budapest was still under socialist rule, and its true colors were dormant.

Flash forward to 37 years later, and we find, on the heels of one of the biggest stars on the planet – Bruce Willis – wrapping up his epic Die Hard V shoot, the news that perhaps the world’s biggest star – Johnny Depp – is confirmed to head up the cast in writer/director Wes Anderson’s next project. How do we know that it will be shot in Budapest? Its title, ‘Hotel Budapest,’ gives us a small clue. Both Anderson’s and Depp’s camps are being incredibly tight-lipped about the details, but have confirmed in print that the film will be shot in Europe and will star Depp, alongside a number of Anderson favorites, including Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. Hotel Budapest is also rumored to feature other well-known actors like Edward Norton, Jude Law, Adrian Brody, and Willem Defoe.

Wes Anderson, via Wikipedia

Not many directors are capable of lining up that kind of talent for low to moderately budgeted films. One other name comes to mind though: a director with whom actors love to work, and will sacrifice pay to be a part of their quirky productions. So, as Woody Allen is making the rounds of great European cities (Midnight in Paris, To Rome With Love) we would like to invite him to revisit Budapest. Perhaps Love and Death deserves a sequel.

Sources:
The Huffington Post
Collider.com

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

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Photo of Dániel Gyurta via mtv Online and Wikipedia

Hungary is recovering from Olympic fever, and with good reason. If you look at the Olympic medal rankings, you won’t see Hungary near the top of many lists, unless of course, you look at the list of Most Successful Countries Per Capita, meaning, the most medals won when taking into consideration the country’s population. Here, you will find, of all the countries in that world that partake in the Olympics, Hungary sitting pretty at number two, not far behind far northern neighbor Finland, when looking at gold medals. This means that since Hungarian athletes began competing in the Olympics, they have won 159 gold medals, while their country of origin has maintained an average population of 10,000,000 people. When looking at all medals, Hungary drops to a still-awe-inspiring number three, being edged out by Sweden.

Much of this success can be attributed to the fearsome domination of Hungarians in water polo and swimming. Though this year, the men’s water polo team crashed out of medal contention, they have won gold medals for the past four consecutive Olympics, and won an epic and historical defeat of the Russians in the year 1956, in a drama so riveting it was made into a movie, Children of Glory. Hungarians have come away with the top prize nine times in total.

Hungary’s 1956 water polo hero Evan Zádor, via Wikipedia

This year there appears to be no let up in the winning of medals. Particularly striking is the gold in the 10k swimming marathon, the women’s race won by Éva Risztov. To call the finish dramatic would be an understatement: she touched the pad under a second before silver-medal finisher Hailey Anderson, from the USA.

Less publicized, though no less dramatic, Hungary won bronze in the grueling men’s pentathlon, an event that puts competitors through a fierce array of events including fencing, swimming, show jumping, running, and shooting. Oh, and let’s not forget Dániel Gyurta, who won gold in the 200 meter breaststroke, an event that Hungarians can also claim expertise in, this being the third Hungarian gold since 1908. We can’t say it is a surprise Gyurta won, having taken a silver medal in Athens in 2008. Perhaps this bodes well for 2016 for László Cseh, who took bronze in the 200-meter individual medley, behind American Ryan Lochte and that other guy, what’s his name, Phelps? In the pool (for men and women) Hungarians are fifth all-time medal winners, population size notwithstanding. Not bad for a land-locked country.

The 2012 Olympics may be over, and it was a thrilling one. Now back to our lives. Oh, wait, did somebody say “Rio 2016”?

We welcome feedback and corrections.

Source: http://www.topendsports.com/events/summer/medal-tally/all-time-comparison-pop.htm

PPM Film Services is a Budapest-based film company offering an inspiring and creative work atmosphere for its host of clients from around the world. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we’re charged to create, we do it with no compromise. To sign up for the PPM Hungary newsletter, have a look here.

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It’s mid summer here, which means hordes and hordes of tourists will be flocking to Hungary. Traffic will be particularly heavy this first week of August, when Budapest hosts what is reputed to be the best outdoor music festival in Europe. Reputed? Well, it did win a Best European Music Festival award last year. Known for attracting huge international acts (this year sees Placebo, The Killers, xx, The Stone Roses, Snoop Dog, Korn, and the Roots, among so many others), one of the novel aspects that makes this festival so charming is that it takes place on a 266 acre island on the Danube, hence the name ‘Sziget’ which means ‘island’ in Hungarian.

But if you don’t speak Hungarian, you won’t be alone. Revelers from abroad comprise around half of the close to 400,000 music fans who are expected to show up for the week-long festival (August 6 – August 15), camping on the Obuda Island, mixing with local youth, who consider a trip to the Sziget a ritual of summer. With the possibility of close to 1000 acts to choose from, including a world music stage, dj tents, an all-Hungarian stage, and a much-loved and populated heavy metal stage, who could blame them?

Founded after the fall of communism and state-supported pop, the organizers envisioned a kind of Euro-Woodstock, and indeed brought many of Woodstoock’s original acts to play the second ever Sziget, back in 1994. Since then performers such as David Bowie, Motorhead, the Foo Fighters, Sonic Youth, the Pogues, Run DMC, and Lou Reed have all visited Hungary to play the festival. But one of the beautiful things about Sziget, is that it is not just about beer drinking and pop. Dance, folk, literature and other arts all have their corners on the island. To see all the programs, visit the official Sziget site here.

Can’t get enough of music in Hungary? Check out the PPM Newsletter by signing up here, and enjoy are all music edition featuring Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, and, of course, Budapest.

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