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Archive for March, 2014

VIA: The Plain Dealer/Landov/Barcroft Media

VIA: The Plain Dealer/Landov/Barcroft Media

It’s been a long time since Sharon Stone flashed her talent on the screen in 1992’s Basic Instinct, but the film remains fixed in the popular imagination as an example of devilishly subversive post-noir. Its massive commercial success not only established its female lead as an icon, but also made its screenwriter – Joe Eszterhaz – the most sought after screenwriter in Hollywood. But of course Joe is just an abbreviation for József – and Eszterhaz derives from the House of Esterházy, one of Hungary’s oldest of aristocratic dynasties, the same family from which springs Hungarian novelist  Péter Esterházy .

Long before he went on to pen the films that would pull in a staggering billion dollars in revenue, baby József could be found living in the sleepy Hungarian village Csákánydoroszló. But this was 1944 when Hungary was in the midst of World War Two. His parents emigrated – first to New York City, and then to a Hungarian enclave in Cleveland, Ohio. After completing his studies, Eszterhaz’s first proper job was working as a reporter for the newspaper the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a position he lost by refusing to promote the paper on a solo transatlantic boat trip. His first screenplay to be produced was the somewhat overlooked drama F.I.S.T, starring Sylvester Stallone and directed by Norman Jewison. From there he went on to pen films that would typify the 80’s aesthetic of highly sexualized thrillers: Jagged Edge, Jade, Betrayed, Sliver, and, of course, Basic Instinct.

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Though a few flops slowed Eszterhaz’s output of produced films, he remains one of the most prolific and all-time bankable screenwriters in the history of Hollywood. Recently, his gaze has turned back to Hungary, his country of birth. The wonderful story of the 1956 Hungarian Olympic water polo team Children of Glory, was – though filmed in Hungarian – based on his screenplay, and released in 2006.

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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via Sarah Stierch/ Wikipedia

via Sarah Stierch/ Wikipedia

Well, all the excitement around the film and hotel that share the name of our home city – Budapest – is for naught. It turns out that you have to go to Germany if you want to see the Grand Hotel Budapest of Wes Anderson’s new film of the same name. But that does not mean that we don’t have some of the most spectacular hotels on the planet here in Budapest, the crown jewel being the Four Seasons Gresham Palace. If ever there was a location that exuded ‘grand’ old-world opulence, coupled with Art Nouveau Budapest and modern luxury, it is the Gresham Palace.

A stunning and pristinely preserved example of pre-war Art Nouveau, the building was commissioned in 1904 by the British Gresham Life Assurance Company. Construction was completed in a relatively speedy three years. Doubling as offices and apartments for executives from the company, changing political tides found it being used as a barracks for Soviet soldiers during World War II and then public housing during the subsequent communist years. After another company was unable to cut through the red tape to open it as a hotel, Four Seasons stepped in and took over. The renovation project actually took longer than the hotel’s original construction: five years at a cost of 110 million dollars. And a meticulous job it was, restoring original details like the large central staircase, stained glass, mosaics, ironwork, and the winter garden.

via CNN Traveller

via CNN Traveler

The lobby and ground floor spaces of the hotel are atmospheric backdrops that could lend romance and intrigue to any scene. Barring that, it’s also a great place to stay, and is the go-to digs for stars filming on location in Budapest, most recently housing The Rock. So despite the Grand Hotel Budapest’s snubbing of the actual Budapest, we maintain that our grandest hotel is every bit as much of a smash hit.

via Wkipedia

via Wkipedia

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 was only a few years back when the Budapest fine-dining scene got its first Michelin Star. That honor went to Costes, a restaurant that has since maintained their status as one of the top culinary destinations in Budapest. Not long after, honors were bestowed on Onyx, a chic newish restaurant known for its modern takes on Hungarian cuisine. Michelin has been threatening to drop another star on Budapest for some time now, but it took the fantastic team at Borkonyha (Wine Kitchen) – a French/Hungarian restaurant that has one of the best wine lists in the city to seal the deal.

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Borkonyha  is the place for carefully assembled, fresh, and innovative modern fine dining. Crispy duck liver,  daily seafood specials, variations from the Hungarian wonder-pig mangalica, and Juniper Ox Cheek are standouts on the small but excellent menu. The servers are on hand to give expert wine-pairing recommendations, as one of the owners worked with the Hungarian Wine Society. Borkonyha is a friendly upscale place that has risen quickly to become the favorite of many local foodies here in Budapest, and with the people at Michelin as well, it seems.

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According to the chef Ákos Sárközi (via the Wine Kitchen Website): “What is my philosophy? I would like to create a kitchen full of flavors. If I had to define my style, I would say that it is open to any influences. As I get inspiration from the Transylvanian cuisine, I’m also ready to use Spanish, French or Italian ingredients. My aim is to show the many facets of the traditional Hungarian cuisine by using contemporary approach and kitchen technology.”

We extend a hearty congratulations to Borkonyha, another shining addition to the fast-growing Budapest dining scene. The hype is well-deserved in this case.

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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Budapest is one of the few cities that has expansive lush rural areas within its city limits. Deep in the twelfth district there are thick woods for hiking and caving; but exactly in the center of the city, in fact on the river that runs through Budapest, is Margaret Island (Margit Sziget), a picturesque location filled with diverse sights and panoramic views. It is the city’s favorite park and natural wonder.

08Margit

At 2.5 kilometers long, the park was first inhabited in the 1200s by the Knights of Saint John. Since then, several other religious orders have maintained churches on the Island, including the Franciscans and the Dominicans; ruins of their long-abandoned structures still stand. The Island was used as an area for convents and cloisters up until the Ottomans invaded, after which it became a place to house the occupiers’ harems. When the Turks were banished, the Island was turned into a royal garden, then later, a public one. Juxtapose the centuries-old ruins with a Communist-era thermal spa, contemporary sculpture, and modern sporting facilities (including a water park), and you get a location that can be placed almost anywhere in history, from medieval times to modern day.

via Donauinsel at Wiki Commons

via Donauinsel at Wiki Commons

Amongst the highlights on Margaret Island are:

An octagonal Water Tower built in Art Nouveau style in 1911. It stands 57 meters high. These days it is used as a lookout tower and an exhibition hall. The water tower, like the Island’s ‘Singing Fountain’ is a protected UNESCO site.

The Grand Hotel Margitsziget, done in fin de siècle style.

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A small Japanese Garden with a fish pond.

Margaret Island is a location with a diverse and exotic history, and worth the attention of film-makers, locals, and tourists alike. Want to be in Budapest, but not in Buda and not in Pest? Here is your chance.

margaret-island-margitsziget

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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