If the Golden Globe Awards are any indication, the political thriller Argo will go home with a handful of awards at tonight’s Oscars. What possible connection could this have to Hungary, you may ask. Was Budapest used as a double for Tehran? No, this time the star is the middle name of the actor/producer/director, Ben Affleck, or Ben ‘Géza’ Affleck. Though he may be of distinctly Irish/English/German descent, Affleck bears a classic Hungarian middle name. ‘Géza’ was bestowed on him by his father, in honor of a friend of the family, who was also a Hungarian Holocaust survivor. An ancient name, its origins are hard to trace. Some believe Géza was a title of honor conferred by the Turks, while others contest that there is no Turkish connection, and it is pure Magyar. Either way, Géza has been used as a boys’ name for centuries here in Hungary.
While Géza Affleck, er, we mean, Ben Affleck, will be by far the most famous person to bear the name, there were a number of renown men throughout history who were also named Géza. Other famous Gézas include the violinist Géza Szilvay, the biblical scholar Géza Verme, and Géza Csáth, author of Opium and Other Stories.
According the site first-names-meanings.com, men bearing the name Géza, like “to be noticed and admired, to be the centre of attention and to be in charge; such are the desires of this rather self-important individual,” and “likes occupations requiring imagination or sensitivity.” In thinking of a writer/actor/director, the name Géza may have more influence than the fairly bland, non-attention-seeking name ‘Ben.’
On a side note: Affleck may have an historical connection to Hungary, but it was his wife, Jennifer Garner, who actually spoke Hungarian, in the TV series Alias. She did a good job, but we want to teach her yet one more phrase: “Jó szerencsét,” which means ‘good luck,’ as in, ‘good luck tonight, Ben Géza Affleck’
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.