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Archive for March, 2015

Republished from the vast PPM blog archives!

It has to be said (in a whisper, please) that Budapest has two of the most beautiful libraries on the planet: the grand National Széchényi Library and the smaller but sumptuously appointed Szabó Ervin Library. Both are national treasures, not just for how regal they appear to passersby from the outside, but also because they are functioning parts of the intellectual and every-day community here in Budapest.

The Széchényi Library is one of two national libraries in Hungary. Founded with donations (in books and money) from the family of Hungary’s great intellectual grand-father, István Széchényi (1791 – 1860), the library currently resides in the Buda Castle Palace. The original Buda Castle Palace was completed in 1265, and the area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Designed in Medieval style, there is something that is at once magisterial and haunting about the Palace itself. But all that dissolves into awe when you are confronted by more than two and a half million volumes that compose the library’s book collection. As you can see from the photos, it has a stunning, evocative exterior and interior.

Speaking of stunning, now let us consider the Szabó Ervin Library in the Eighth District’s Palace District. Renown as one of the most beautiful interiors in all of Hungary, the library is also fully functional. Housed in the Wenckheim Palace – a pristine example of Baroque Revival architecture – the building was completed in 1890 as the residence of an aristocrat. The structure, inside and out, was renovated a mere five years ago, with no expense spared. You can see from the photos that every pain was taken to keep the original detailing and old-world spirit from being disrupted by everyday use in this modern world.

To walk through the Szabó Ervin Library is to walk through a chapter in history, and you won’t be silent because that is what is expected of you in a library, but because you are simply awed by the spectacular interiors. Just don’t shout about it until you are out on the street.

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 should be no surprise that the artist known as Flea landed in a band called the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, because like so many international entertainers, he is secretly Hungarian! And Hungary is known for its hot red paprika, just like Flea is known as one of the top rock bassists on the planet. But Flea wasn’t always ‘Flea’: he started life as Michael Peter Balzary, son of a Hungarian immigrant to Australia. After moving with his father to the States, the younger Balzary met Anthony Kiedis, with whom he eventually formed the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in Los Angeles, California. Since 1983 they have played to punk, indie, and arena rock fans world-wide, even stopping in Budapest every now and again, though they have yet to concede that the Peppers are paprika-influenced.

photo by Leon Wilson via Wikipedia

photo by Leon Wilson via Wikipedia

Note to heavy metal musicians: it’s had to go wrong with a name like Bathory. We speak of the Hungarian countess Erzsébet Báthory, known among horror enthusiasts as the ‘female Dracula’, who (very wrongly) was accused of bathing in the blood of her maids to keep young looking. Carrying on the name is Zoltan Bathory, founder and guitarist of the super popular American metal band Five Finger Death Punch. Bathory was born in Hungary, but now makes his home in LA. In addition to being a mean guitarist, he is an entrepreneur and martial arts expert, bathing in the blood of his opponents, we suppose.

photo by Sarah Dope via Wikipedia

photo by Sarah Dope via Wikipedia

Lastly, we have John Popper of Blues Traveler fame. The multi-talented front man shares the same last name as famed Hapsburgian philosopher Karl Popper, though it is not known if they are related. Popper’s father was a Hungarian who fled war-torn Europe for America in 1948. The younger Popper originally wanted to be a comedian, but found more success playing the harmonica. Since he shot to fame in the 90s with prog rock band Blues Traveler, he has won a Grammy for his music. Though Blues Traveler was huge State-side, you don’t see them around Hungary too much. To remedy that, can we suggest a festival featuring an all Hungarian-American lineup?

photo by Rafael Rezende via Wikipedia

photo by Rafael Rezende via Wikipedia

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 facebook

via facebook

It seems like only yesterday that Budapest got the nod from the people at the Michelin Guide along with a Michelin star for Borkonyha (wine kitchen), making it the third restaurant in the city to receive the honor. Now, before we have had much time to breathe, another coveted star falls from the sky and lands on the Buda-side restaurant Tanti. Tanti? Most locals have not yet heard of Tanti. That’s because it was only opened last year, and due to its location, doesn’t see much foot traffic. So new is it that they haven’t had time to put up an English version of their site (though you will find the menu in English and Hungarian). But its arrival on Budapest’s burgeoning haute cuisine scene couldn’t be more conspicuous.

via facebook

Photo: Pintér Árpád via facebook

Tanti in Hungarian is the informal word for ‘aunt,’ which implies that while it is traditional, it is perhaps younger and more innovative food than grandmother’s. Tanti is a healthy, forward thinking relative indeed. One of the editors of the 34th Michelin Guide cited the “great cooking and simple artistry” as one of the reasons Tanti’s kitchen rose above the rest of the field and was recognized with this prestigious award. The regular menu features such ‘tanti-lizing’ offerings as foie gras torchon with mango and hazelnut, cholet with cod and veal brisket, and traditional curd cheese crepes with dill ice cream.

via facebook

via facebook

Tanti joins Borkonyha, Onyx, and the original Michelin star winner Costes (which won its star back in 2010) in a very exclusive group. In terms of regional success, Budapest is one star ahead of the Czech Republic, and three ahead of Poland, giving it the most stars of any of the former Soviet Bloc countries (if we are not counting the re-united Berlin). A huge congratulations to chef István Pesti and the entire restaurant. We hope to see you soon.

Note on the source: all photos were gleaned from social networking sites. If you are the photographer and want credit or removal, please alert us. pilvax-at-gmail.com

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 Soundmap from Tamas Liszka on Vimeo.

The video above is something totally singular. On this blog we usually concentrate on the visuals around Budapest, without giving much thought to the audio delights, annoyances, and curiosities that are unique to the city. Good thing sound designer Tamas Liszka, a media-arts professional who studied at Budapest’s  Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, took an interest, and created the very first Budapest Soundmap. In the video, you can see a hand touching the map at various locations around Buda and Pest, and discovering the audio experiences to be had there. Many are very familiar to inhabitants of the city, for better or worse. Either way, its a fascinating experiment in challenging our perception of a place we thought we knew.

If you haven’t spent any time in Budapest, below area a series of pictures that correspond to some of the sounds in the video. Can you match them?

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

via Budapest-card.com

via Budapest-card.com

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

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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Making the rounds on local social media as of late is this elegant and moving tribute to the 1956 Uprising in Hungary, where a largely spontaneous attempt to forcibly unseat the Soviet-imposed government was brutally put down. Here we have Oscar winner and film royalty Dame Judi Dench reading the poem “We Cannot Know” by Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti. Radnóti – one of Hungary’s most-loved and canonized poets from the last century – was a Hungarian Jew who was killed in the Holocaust on a forced march across the country. He was buried in a mass grave, and later exhumed, precipitating the discovery of a notebook in his coat pocket that contained his last and most famous verse, entitled, depending on the edition, Cloudy, Frothy, or Foamy Sky. “We Cannot Know” was one of the poems in that recovered volume.

This ode to his homeland shows why Radnóti, along with the poets of his generation, is being rediscovered by audiences worldwide. What precipitated the recording of this 1978 video appears lost to the ages, but we are grateful for its existence. And if you are feeling adventurous, or just want to hear what the poem sounds like in Hungarian, we included that version as well. You’re welcome.


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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