All the world loves a list. We particularly love lists when Budapest is featured on them. Here, from Bored Panda, the favorite website of time-wasters and procrastinators, we find a list where Budapest gets not one, but two mentions. No surprise for us, it’s a list of the most beautiful movie theaters in the world, where we can claim both the third and sixth spot, with the Urania National Theater, and the Puskin Theater respectively.
In fairness to the Urania, it is actually the first theater on Panda’s list that doesn’t feature novelty seating (first place sees beds used as seats, second place, cars). We wrote some on the Urania in an earlier post, so we hope you don’t mind if we quote ourselves: “The history of Hungarian film is almost as old as film itself. Since Adolf Zukor Michael Curtis, and William Fox left Hungary to help build studios and make classic movies in California, the country has remained a fertile ground for innovators and trail-blazers on the international film scene. It is only fitting that one of the grandest, most elegant movie theaters on the planet is situated in the heart of Budapest.
The Urania stands as a functioning monument to the great artistic achievements of film and a tribute to audiences who still like to enjoy cinema in a proper movie theater. The structure housing the Urania was constructed in the 1880s. Its original purpose was actually not film related: nickelodeons had yet to even debut at that point in history. The Urania was what is known as an ‘Orpheum’, which is a kind of cabaret/dance hall. Right before the turn of the century, it was refitted to be a movie theater, in order to first host a Hungarian Scientific Society’s presentation, and then later to accommodate the rush of interest in this new crowd-pleasing medium.” Currently, it is the theater of choice for film festivals and movie premiers.
The Pushkin is smaller than the Urania, but still elegant and painstakingly preserved. When it opened in 1926, it was then the largest cinema in Europe. Though it has passed hands many times, the splendor of the main theater has been kept intact, with the original gilded ornamentation of sculpture Sándor Kristián having created a regal, majestic atmosphere for film-goers. Perhaps the attention to the opulent ornamentation is due to the fact that the Pushkin was originally a casino before being converted. Like the Urania, it bucks the trend towards blockbuster films, and serves primarily as an art-house cinema for Hungarian and foreign films alike.
So stop by Budapest; it’s a film lovers’ city, for those who make them but also for those who just enjoy them. Here you will find two of the most beautiful cinemas in the world. We know, because lists don’t lie.
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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