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Archive for March, 2013

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Budapest is a living history, and few streets are capable of taking you back in time like Király utca, which divides District VI and District VII.

Before World War II, Király utca (King Street) was one of Pest’s grand boulevards and central shopping streets. Jewish and gentile shop owners sold haberdashery, cut hair, sold jewelry and foodstuffs. There was actually a trolley that ran up and down the cobblestone street, ferrying shoppers from one end to the other.

Strolling down Király these days, you will come across many unique small shops and unique spaces, including used book stores, pubs, and design stores.  At Király 19, if the gate happens to be open, go to the back of the builiding, through the passageway, and you will find the last remaining portion of the ghetto wall that kept many of Budapest’s Jewish population contained during the Nazi occupation.

Despite the Nazis’ retreat, the dangers in the ghetto persisted, and this was a very dangerous street to be found on. Jews were hunted day and night by the blood-thirsty, virulently anti-Semitic Arrow Cross party, a Hungarian militia who took it upon themselves to finish the job the Nazis started. They killed an estimated 25,000 Jews in the brief period from 1944-1945, during and after the Nazi occupation.

Farther up, across the street, at number 50, is Sirály (Seagull) a former squatters’ bar that was, until its recent closure, the hub of young Jewish culture. Experimental, folk, and klezmer concerts took place in a club under the bar, literary readings happened on the quiet book-lined second level, and there was an excellent used book store behind the bar on the main level of Sirály.

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If you look right on Kertész street you can see faded Hapsburg Café lettering (from a former café from turn-of-the-century Budapest). Scanning the buildings, you can spot pock marks in the facades. These are bullet holes are from building-to-building urban warfare, most likely during the Siege of Budapest in WWII, when the city was taken from the Germans block by block. Though the street is not named for him, Imre Kertész was one of the Jews from Budapest who was rounded up and deported, sent to Auschwitz first, then eventually imprisoned in Buchenwald. His novel Fatelessness was a fictionalized version of that upheaval, and would contribute to his winning of the Nobel Prize in literature, Hungary’s first.

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Much of the history of ‘King Street’ is tragic. But the street itself is still alive with activity and commerce – and is visually captivating as always.

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Due to licensing expenses and differences in local tastes, the Hungarian release of Hollywood films sometimes features vastly different art on the promotional film poster. Non-Hungarian speakers, have a look at the posters below, and see if you can guess the films they are from. Answers at the bottom:

hungariancloseencounters

hungarianeastofeden

hungarianjudgement

hungarianmoderntimes

hungarianstarwars

Answers:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

East of Eden

Judgement at Nuremberg

Modern Times

Star Wars

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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gunHungarian/ Turkish relations have never been better. Times have changed since the Ottoman occupation and the two nations have found much common ground in the culture of language. For instance, both Turkish and Hungarian are aggutinative languages; and to this day you can find Turkish words spicing up Hungarian language, like kávé (coffee) and, sereg (army).

If it seems that the Turkish also have a taste for Hungarian literature, it is probably due to the efforts of translator Gün Benderlit, who was recently given the Pro Cultura Hungarica award in Budapest for her service to literature and Hungarian/Turkish relations. Her daughter was on hand to accept the prize.

The list of Hungarian authors Benderlit has translated reads like a course list of classic and contemporary writers: from Imre Madach (Tragedy of Man) to vital, living wirters like Imre Kertész, Péter Nádas, and György Dragomán.

Benderlit was born in 1930 in Istanbul. She was raised in a family of intellectuals, and her mother was the one of the first women in the country granted the right to attend university. Benderli grew up in a family that was cosmopolitan and European in its aspirations. After finishing university in Istanbul, she atteneded law school at the Sorbonne in Paris. Later, she followed her husband to Hungary, where he was organizing Turkish-language radio broadcasts, which were part of the pan-European cultural landscape until the early 1990s.

Benderli kept busy in Budapest, taking ten years to compile the difinitive Turkish/Hungarian diciotnary, with the assistance of Hungarian colleagues Edit Tasnádi and Zsuzsá Kakukk. It remains in print and is the standard for speakers of Hungarian and Turkish.

In giving the prize, Secretary of State Judit Hammerstein paid homage to Benderlit’s almost single-handed introduction of great Hungarian writers into the language of Turkish and Turkey itself. Her work represents a little Hungarian occupation of Turkish bookstores.

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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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