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Archive for July, 2014

It’s late July in Hungary, which means the ruin pubs are full, music festivals abound, and racing fans from around the world descend upon Hungary for its contribution to Formula 1, the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring Racetrack, 19 kilometers outside of Budapest. There will be no shortage of intrigue this year, with British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton returning to attempt to take his fifth – yes, fifth – win at the race. The only other driver to take four wins at Hungaroring is Michael Schumacher.

Despite the enthusiasm for the race locally, only one Hungarain driver has ever started an F1 race. That was Zsolt Baumgartner who drove for Jordan in 2003 and Minardi in 2004, scoring one point at the Grand Prix in Indianapolis in 2004. According to the site bleacherreport.com, Hungarian Ferenc Szisz, won the first ever grand prix, which took place in 1906 near Le Mans.

Hungaroring-Hungarian-Grand-Prix-2011

Hungaroring (official site here) opened in 1986, making it one of the more modern tracks on the Formula 1 circuit. It also has one of the most challenging designs, calling on drivers’ cornering ability, with its sharp curves. Just because the Grand Prix takes place in summer doesn’t mean the track is deserted in spring: locals are permitted to drag race monthly; you might even see a souped-up Trabant. Located in a valley, around 80 percent course is visible from most points, making it a striking and exciting location for spectators and film-makers alike.

"Lewis Hamilton 2007 Canada" by Mark McArdle from Canada - Hamilton Canada 2007. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Lewis Hamilton 2007 Canada” by Mark McArdle from Canada – Hamilton Canada 2007. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

It’s interesting to examine the international press’s impressions of Budapest when covering the race. According to the Guardian: “It is easy to feel rapture for Budapest, for the “dustless highway” of its Danube, its basilicas and bridges, the cool respite of the Buda Hills and the memorial of Heroes’ Square…” So with that, a ‘rapturous’ good luck to Lewis Hamilton and all the other drivers at this year’s Hungaroring.

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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chemical_brothers

via chemicalbrothers.com

Every now and again a clip comes along that doesn’t feature Budapest’s most recognized, blue-chip locations (The Chain Bridge, The Castle, or the State Opera House) but rather uses the gritty urban feel of the inner city of Pest. One such video surfaced recently in the Chemical Brothers single “The Boxer”. Here you can see a hyper-kinetic basketball bouncing around of its own volition deep in Districts VII, VIII, and IX. These are streets that are filled with apartment buildings erected post WWII (socialist block houses) and Bauhaus-influenced office buildings. You can also see a healthy bit of what the city streets that have yet to be renovated and pedestrianized look like. In short: the part of Budapest tourists don’t usually visit.

Not long ago, businessinsider.com asked if Budapest was the hipster capital of Europe, and this video makes a case that it is. The vibe is a kitsch, retro, 70s feeling that is very hip indeed these days. And for added hipster cred, check out the Lada (the boxy car) and rotary phones. Retro and nostalgia rule. The song is not necessarily new either: it comes from the 2005 album Push the Button and features Charlatans’ singer Tim Burgess on vocals. But it took the 2011 previously unreleased alternate version of “The Boxer’ to rate this super video.

So here we have one more niche Budapest can fill: hipster heaven. Berlin, eat your heart out (and wipe your beard: there are crumbs in it).

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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karlovy_vary_film_festival_a_l

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has been good to Hungary in recent years. Last year Hungarian director János Szász took home top Grand Prix honors for the WWII-set The Notebook (Le grand cahier / A nagy füzet) at the Czech Republic-based festival. This year continues the momentum, with a strong showing by director György Pálfi. His feature Free Fall (Szabadesés) won the $15,000 Special Jury Prize, as well as the festival’s Best Director prize. The Hollywood Reporter describes the film, which begins with the attempted suicide of an old woman who jumps from the roof of a tenement, as “a portmanteau of individual short stories.” The review goes on to praise the director’s ability to call upon great film-makers of the past while maintaining his own directorial voice.

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Accepting his award, Pálfi said: “I wish for every auteur to have an audience like you. Do you know why I am the best director in Karlovy Vary tonight? Because I have such a nice crew, and without you I couldn’t be here.” It is no accident that he praises his crew – according to this Daily Variety review of Virág Zomborácz’s Afterlife (also shown at this year’s Karlovy Vary), Hungarian crews are particularly capable: “As usual in most Magyar productions, the tech contributions are excellent.”

via Finalcutmovie.com

via Finalcutmovie.com

Several of Pálfi’s previous films have been screened at international festivals and went on to become art-house favorites. Notably, Hukkle, his experimental first film film (which employs almost no dialogue), the plot of which centers around a small town in Hungary, and possibly a murder, was praised for its minimalism and craft. Like his next film, Taxidermia, it saw a limited release in larger markets like the US. The later was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival.

A hearty congratulations to György Pálfi and all the other Hungarian directors who are doing so well across the globe this 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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Recently, CNN Travel published a list of the best of the bath houses in Hungary. Oh, in case you don’t know, Hungary is wildly famous for its thermal baths, which were introduced during the Ottoman occupation, but popularized during the Hapsburg era. According to CNN’s article, there are more than 1,000 hot springs that lie beneath 80% of the country. Needless to say, if you are looking for a thermal bath in Hungary, there are lots of options.

viagellertbath.hu

via gellertbath.hu

Conspicuously missing from the list, however, is perhaps Budapest’s most sumptuous bathing experience: the Gellért Baths. Located in the nether regions of the 5-star Gellárt Hotel, it is Buda’s most famous bathhouse, and the choice for high-end travellers and well-heeled locals. Though references to healing waters on the Danube-side site go back to the middle ages, and the occupying Ottomans had a bath there, it was not until the twentieth century that construction on the hotel that houses the baths began. Ground was first broke in 1912 and the project was completed in 1918 employing the (Secession) Art Nouveau style. Much attention was put into the Zsolnay ceramic mosaics and intricate interiors of the light, open space of the baths. The hotel itself was damaged during World War II, but reconstructed. The baths received further renovation in 2008, fully recreating it’s original opulent feeling.

Budapest_Gellert_baths_01

via luxuryhotelsbudapest.com

via luxuryhotelsbudapest.com

You can see from the photos just how atmospheric the baths are. It is no surprise that a few film-makers have already taken a advantage of the Gellért Baths as a location. Czech director Jan Sverák filmed scenes from his 1994 sci-fi film Accumulator 1 there, and later in the 90s, New York artist Matthew Barney used the baths as a backdrop for portions of his art-house Cremaster series. So come, get your feet wet at this under-utilized Budapest location.

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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