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Archive for the ‘Film Curia’ Category

Szörffilm Catches a Wave

Sub-zero temperatures, impending snow storms, and winter holidays: what better time to have a peek into the lives of surfers in Hungary. OK, outside of the wave machines at Palintus and Gellért pools, there is no surfing in landlocked Hungary.  But be sure, there are Hungarian surfers. The 2014 documentary Sörffilm – ‘created by’ Károly Spáh and Milán Bernáth, and surfers Peiman Lotfi, András Ajtai, and Dávid Liptay,  follows three young Hungarian surf enthusiasts as they travel the world looking to ride the ‘barrel’ the term for that sweet spot where a wave folds over itself, creating a tube the surfer shoots through. From England to Indonesia, the optimistic young crew endures injury, parental derision, and money troubles in their quest. It’s a short, pleasing documentary, and  just the right temperature for a frigid winter’s day.

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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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.

https://ppmhungary.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/urania3.jpg

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.

https://ppmhungary.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/urania2.jpg

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.

pushkin

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.

pushkin2

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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Watching this short film, a travelogue shot in the 1930s in Budapest, one realizes the truth behind the cliché the more things change, the more they stay the same. The video could have easily been shot today but for the black and white film and the dress of the city’s denizens. Here we are, almost a century later, and if you walk around town you can still see most of the primary sites featured in this pre-World War Two film: Gresham Palace (now a Four Seasons Hotel), Parliament, the Chain Bridge, the Széchenyi Bath House, and the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy – all unchanged but for some rehabilitation.

The Screen Traveler: Gay and Beautiful Budapest was shot from the innocent lens of the 1930s. Created by American travel film-maker Andre De La Varre, the clip does capture a few peculiarities that we are not likely to see again: a pond front and center of Heroes’ Square, an all-white uniformed officer directing traffic like a human traffic light, and Vaci Street without a single McDonald’s or Starbucks.

In this film you can really see why Budapest is the go-to backdrop for historical films and period pieces, including Bel Ami, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Evita, as it is at once dynamic yet unchanging. So take a trip back in time with this unique film travelogue. We’ll meet you in 1930.

 

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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First, we offer a mea culpa. We try to stay ‘on message’ regarding film culture in and around Hungary, but these stereo slides found on the blog of Budapest’s premier photo exhibition space – Mai Manó Hungarian Photography House – are too cool not to pass along. According to anerdsworld.com, these photos were actually taken by  a soldier in the French army during their World War I tour. Anersworld.com also did us all the favor or doing the 3-D rendering of the Verascope slides, turning the stereoscope pictures into GIFs. So, scroll down and enjoy this fascinating slice of history. And if you missed last week’s stunning display of stereo pictures from early 19th century Japan, keep scrolling down, or have a look here.

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003.gifFotó: Temetés

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(source: Mai Manó photography house blog via anerdsword.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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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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Once and a while a video showcasing the beauty and romance of Budapest comes along that is too irresistible not to share. But this one is truly rare: A colorized travel clip from 1938. This is – of course – interwar Budapest, and things were about to change dramatically for the country and city. But as much as they changed, and will continue to change, it is amazing just what has stayed the same. Keep an eye out for gorgeous shots of Parliament, Pest’s shopping boulevards, mineral water spas, the Chain Bridge, the Hotel Gellért and its arificial wave contraption, and the views of the Danube.

Now which was your favorite part? Ours was definitely the whole thing.

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’s one thing for us to tell you how great a place Budapest is as a location. But when you hear it unsolicited from one of the biggest stars on the planet, it means just a little bit more.

Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock” of World Wide Wrestling, film and TV fame, has been spending quite some time in Hungary as of late. The star of films such as G.I Joe, The Scorpion King, and Fast and Furious 6, recently finished shooting director Bret Ratner’s take on the Hercules myth. Hercules: The Thracian Wars was shot in Budapest at the Origo Film Group lot using mostly local crews and talent. Lately, The Rock has been taking to social media in praise of the work done on the intricate sets needed to recreate ancient Greece.

via Dwayne Johnson/ Twitter

via Dwayne Johnson/ Twitter

Of the recreated Athenian amphitheater Rock tweeted, “Amazing to walk on set today. Detail in design incredible.”

Of an earlier set he wrote, “The most amazing set I’ve ever stepped foot on. Honored to play this role.”

via Dwayne Johnson/ Instagram

via Dwayne Johnson/ Instagram

Much of what The Rock is so impressed with is down to the hard work of Hungarian art director Bence Erdeyi and his crew of diligent, detail-minded craftsmen. Erdeyi’s star is rising with a spate of recent high-profile jobs on films like Die Hard V, Season of the Witch, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the Robin Hood miniseries.

The Rock also passes the praise around to the crew: “6am. Just wrapped a long night of shooting. THANK U to our hard workin’ film crew. A pleasure droppin’ sweat w ya.”

Rock even gives a shout out to the extras: “THANK U my ‘Thracian soldiers’. Intensity & energy.”

via Themovieweb.com

via Themovieweb.com

But The Rock has been singing the praises of Budapest for a while now. Upon arrival here is what he tweeted: “A pleasure being in Budapest…Beautiful city & people. Months of training for the role. Lets shoot.. HERCULES.”

It is fair to say that The Rock is a generous guy with his praise and gratitude, and his Hungarian team gave him a lot to feel good about.

the-rocks-demi-god-diet-plan-for-his-next-role-as-hercules

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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tolonc3The history of film in Hungary is almost as long as the history of film itself. This is a nation that prides itself on its record of technical innovations and challenging narrative techniques. The country’s rich cinematic past will twine with its technology-savvy present when the reels of Michael Curtiz’s A Tolonc (The Undesirable) arrives at Budapest’s National Digital Archive and Film Institute, where it will be restored and digitally re-mastered.

The Undesirable is one of the many lost films of Hungary’s golden age of silent film, and represents one of the first directorial efforts from Michael Curtiz, who went on to achieve international fame as the director of such films as Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, and The Jazz Singer. His hundred-year-old silent film was discovered in the basement of the Hungarian House, a cultural center in New York City. How it got there is still unknown, but great efforts have been made to return the film to its homeland. The undertaking of returning and restoring the film, at the cost of close to 50,000 Euro, will be funded by the Hungarian National Film Foundation, overseen by Terminator and Rambo producer, and HNFF head honcho, Andrew Vajna.

toloncCurtiz, born Manó Kaminer Kertész, shot the film in 1914 in the then Hungarian-ruled city of Kolozsvár, (now better known as Cluj-Napoca, Romania). Shooting for the film was completed in the summer before the outbreak of WWI. There is evidence that the film was shown in the United States in the 1920s. This would make it one of Hungary’s first releases into the US market.

By this time next year, you can expect to see the re-mastered version of A Tolonc posted on You Tube, and – if all goes well – there will be a theatrical showing in Budapest to celebrate the film’s 100 year anniversary. It will be a fine homecoming for a film that spent so long abroad. What a difference a century makes.

tolonc2

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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Dracula-NBC-logo-wide-560x282

There is nothing more predictable than the re-emergence of the character of Dracula. You just can’t seem to keep the famous Count down, in his guise as a creature of the night, or as modern celebrity. Since the inception of the novel Dracula, the character has been re-incarnated hundreds of times in film alone, not to mention all the plays, comics, spin off books, and – more recently – anime and video games, that have featured perhaps the most famous monster of all time.

Nor is it a huge surprise that Budapest is (once again) chosen as a portion of the backdrop behind the telling the latest Dracula story; the 10-part mini-series, Dracula, is currently filming in both London and Budapest. This particular permutation of the Dracula legend finds the undead hero cast as an American, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The plot re-envisions Dracula as a young entrepreneur arriving in London to sell a recent invention, though he is really there to take revenge on the people who turned him into a vampire centuries ago. His mission is complicated by the emergence of a love-interest who may be the re-incarnation of his long-dead wife.

Of course, vampires and this part of the world are nothing new. As we pointed out in an earlier post, the very first Dracula film was shot in Budapest by Hungarian film-makers in1921. The Death of Dracula starred a mostly Hungarian cast, and was directed Károly Lajhay and was co-written by Michael Curtiz, who went on to emigrate to American and direct Casablanca. Furthermore, the real-life inspiration for Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, the blood-thirsty Wallachian ruler, spent many years under house arrest in Budapest, when he was considered to be a liability to the Hungarian monarchy. There is something about Budapest and Dracula that just go together, as his constant return seems to prove.

Stern Film Stúdió in Pomaz, directly north of Budapest, is serving as a sound stage for the local filming. The series is being distributed in part by the US broadcaster NBC and the UK-based Sky Living.

dracula2

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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Due to licensing expenses and differences in local tastes, the Hungarian release of Hollywood films sometimes features vastly different art on the promotional film poster. Non-Hungarian speakers, have a look at the posters below, and see if you can guess the films they are from. Answers at the bottom:

hungariancloseencounters

hungarianeastofeden

hungarianjudgement

hungarianmoderntimes

hungarianstarwars

Answers:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

East of Eden

Judgement at Nuremberg

Modern Times

Star Wars

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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