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Archive for December, 2013

Last year we showcased a few great music videos that use Budapest as their backdrop. You could see pop stars Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, and Sarah O’Connor making the most of the stunning locations the city has to offer. But lately, a slew of new videos  that use Budapest locations have come to our attention. Have a look below: enjoy the scenery, and try – just try – not to tap your feet.

Liberty X, “Holding on For You”:

Some songs just seem perfectly matched for the melancholy side of Budapest. Case in point:  the syrupy sweet but devilishly sad video for Liberty X’s single “Holding on For You”. Juxtapose the gothic and decaying facades of downtown Pest, add the grandeur of Hapsburg-era interior, and finish it off with the retro Communist feel of the Budapest metro, and you have the backdrop to a song that is both classic and contemporary, and very romantic.

Jamie Woon, “Lady Luck”:

Jamie Woon seems to have discovered one of the best-kept tourist secrets of Budapest: the easiest and cheapest way to see the city is on its system of yellow trams. Here in “Lady Luck” you find him taking in the somewhat blurry streets of Pest (while still finding time to cross the Liberty Bridge into Buda). Like Liberty X, the filmmakers made the most of the Budapest metro system, taking Woon underground. With his epic journey around Budapest on public transport, we only hope he was in possession of a day pass, and wasn’t accosted by the notoriously grouchy ticket controllers.

Woon’s video has enjoyed almost nine million views on You Tube, which is great, though nowhere near Katy Perry’s video for  “Firecracker”, which remains the Budapest-related video to beat at 411,000,000 views.

Thanks for a great 2013, from PPM. We will see you in the new year.

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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This week saw the announcement of the short list of films that are in contention for the nomination for`Best Foreign Language Film award in the upcoming Academy Awards. Amongst the 9 films listed was locally made The Notebook (A nagy füzet) directed by János Szász, a Hungarian director best known for his film Opium: Diary or a Madwoman, and his contribution to the Holocaust documentary Eyes of the Holocaust.  The film has already had quite a year, winning this year’s main prize – The Crystal Globe – at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

A record 76 films were in contention to make the short list for the 86th annual Academy Awards. The next round will cut the nine films down to five, the names of which will be announced with the rest of the Academy Award nominees on January 16th. Other films on the short list are:

Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Felix van Groeningen
Bosnia and Herzegovina, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, Danis Tanovic
Cambodia, The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh
Denmark, The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg
Germany, Two Lives, Georg Maas
Hong Kong, The Grandmaster, Wong Kar-wai
Italy, The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino
Palestine, Omar, Hany Abu-Assad

As reported earlier this year on this blog: The Notebook is an adaptation of writer Agota Kristof’s novel The Notebook (though the book was written in French, the writer is of Hungarian extraction). The story follows two boys who are taken in by their seemingly monstrous grandmother, who is able to keep them fed under the deprivations of World War II. The boys disassociate themselves from their emotional lives in order to survive their ordeal, keeping factual accounts of the lessons they learn in a notebook.  The Hollywood Reporter called the film “beautifully conceived,” citing the Hungarian countryside as particularly well rendered in the film.

Best of luck to János Szász and The Notebook.

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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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Every now and again on this blog we like to honor figures who are not so well known on the historical landscape – specifically, people who build cultural bridges between Hungary and other nations. This time around, we happened upon Juichiro Imaoka, an intrepid Japanese researcher and scholar, who traveled to Hungary in the early part of the twentieth century, fell in love with the language, and decided to stay write while teaching the Japanese language in Budapest.

According to sources, upon arriving in Hungary in 1922, Imaoka quickly took to the language, and mastered it in no time. Mastering Hungarian is quite a feat for any foreigner, but if you consider that Imaoka had few if no Japanese/Hungarian language books to rely on, his accomplishment is all the more awe inspiring (though he did arrive already speaking Finnish, an advantage that is debatable).

Imaoka soon found himself in the enviable position of being one of – if not the only – Japanese scholars living in Hungary. It is because of his furious curiosity and hard work that scholarly and journalistic articles about Hungary were published in Japan, acquainting Japanese readers with Hungary from the perspective of one of their own countrymen. He also lectured about Japan to Hungarians (in Hungarian!) creating a kind of cultural dialog between the two nations. Imoka is also credited with some of the first translations of modern literature from Hungarian into Japanese. Authors who were the beneficiaries of his labors were Sándor Petőfi, Dezső Kosztolányi, and Imre Madách.

Imaoka was also something of an expert on Pan-Turanism, which holds that the Japanese and Finno-Ugric speaking tribes sprung from the same lineage, originating from around the Ural mountains in present-day Mongolia. Upon return to Japan after more than a decade in Hungary, it was Imaoka who organized the donation of five hundred Japanese cherry saplings to Hungary. You can still find some thriving along the Danube, and in other places around the city.

How deep was Imaoka’s devotion to Hungary? His own words speak loudest:

“Farewell … Budapest, you’re modern, large metropolis. Pest-Buda – you are a dreaming, romantic little town! I  know so well what a poignantly beautiful, big, dear treasure you are to me.”

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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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The-Shop-Around-The-Corner

Usually in this space you will find us harping on the fact that Budapest is used as a location to represent so many other cities. But we know of at least one film where Budapest was recreated abroad – on a Hollywood lot, no less. Starring It’s A Wonderful Life actor James Stewart, we are referring, of course, to is the 1940 comedy A Shop Around the Corner.

In the pic, Stewart plays Alfred Kralik, an employee of a Budapest gift shop who doesn’t realize that he is falling in love with his nemesis at the shop via anonymous love letters they send to one another. Why, when the screenplay was written by an American, and the film’s primary players were all American – did they choose Budapest as the setting? It’s because the film is based on the stage play Parfumerie, by Hungarian Miklós Laszló.

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If the plot to A Shop Around the Corner sounds familiar, it is because Laszló’s play was used as the basis for two other subsequent films: In the Good Old Summertime, and most recently, the Tom Hanks/ Meg Ryan vehicle You’ve Got Mail. The script was also adapted for the Broadway musical She Loves Me. A contemporary of playwright Ferenc Molnar, Laszló – who was of Jewish extraction – was born in Budapest, but heeded pre-World War II warnings and moved to the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen. He married while there, and worked on numerous film scripts before dying in 1973 in New York City.

It is worth mentioning that the story does take place around Christmas, so it is considered a Christmas film. Though A Shop Around the Corner never had the critical or commercial impact of Stewarts’ Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, it did make Time Magazine’s list of top 100 films.

Here’s a short clip from one of the more lively parts of A Shop Around the Corner. If you look over James Stewart’s shoulder, you can see a street sign in Hungarian: a bit of Hollywood-created Budapest.

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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