#Culture #Magazine /

Camera, lights, action – Hungarians behind Hollywood

Last night all eyes – Hungarians actually until cca 5:00 am this morning – were on Los Angeles to see who will succeed with that golden trophy named Oscar. We have been waiting for this moment since the 23rd January when the official Oscar selection became public and Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul drama was selected in the five at the Best Foreign Film category. The film was awarded with the Golden Bear at the 67th Berlinale, Alexandra Borbély won the “European Oscar” as the Best Actress at the European Film Awards. The film since has been featured among the top of the tops in the world, however this time didn’t bring the golden statue back home, still we are delighted that Hungary is recognised again in Hollywood! Did you know Hollywood was invented by Hungarians?

For Hungary the Oscars has been put under a microscope again since 2015, when the Hungarian film drama the Son of Saul was invited to the Cannes festival in 2015 and won the Festival Grand Prize, then at the 73rd Golden Globe won the best foreign language film and became the first Hungarian film featured there, to top all of this in 2016, at the 88th Academy Award won the best foreign language film and brought the Oscar home. In this searing drama, a concentration camp inmate tasked with burning the dead discovers the body of his young son, and must choose between participating in the clandestine uprising being planned among the prisoners, or securing a proper Jewish burial for his child.

2017 was another success year for Hungary, “Sing” won the 2017 Academy Award for “Best Live Action Short Film”. Based on a true story of the early 90s in Budapest, the 25-minute short film follows an award-winning school choir, their teacher, a new girl in class and the dark truth behind their fame.

Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul is such a sensitive, beautiful and magical film experience, available worldwide on Netflix, Mubi. Two introverted people find out by pure chance that they share the same dream every night. They are puzzled, incredulous, a bit frightened. As they hesitantly accept this strange coincidence, they try to recreate in broad daylight what happens in their dream. In their dream they meet in the forest as two deer.

Hungarian talent has been in the roots of Hollywood, Adolph Zukor and William Fox established the two film corporations, which became one of the most powerful companies in the movie world. Zukor born as the son of a village grocer in 1873, after his parents died, the fifteen-year-old boy immigrated to the USA. With 25 USD in his pockets and hardly any English vocabulary, he started working in a furrier shop. He was hardworking which payed it’s rewards and managed to open his own shop. He saw the first film in 1893, and fell in love with the world of motion. With a great sense of business, he partnered with a nickelodeon, and started buying rights and distribute films. In 1912 he founded the base of Paramount, he hired the best actors to bring classics to the screen and shot films such as The Count of Monte Cristo (1913). A year later his company was able to produce 30 films a year, and opened the Standard cinema palace on the NY Broadway which hosted 3500 people! His success rose, set up his studio in Hollywood and the rest is history. He won an Academy Award in 1949 for his achieved work.

William Fox was born in 1879 as Vilmos Fried, immigrated only 9 months old to the States with his parents. His first job was as a newspaper boy, then got a job in the clothing industry. He set up his first company in 1900, which he sold a couple later years later and bought his first cinema theatre, where short silent films were screened. His motivation was to buy more film theatres which brought him wealth, by 1908, he already owned a cinema the Broadway. In 1915 he founded Fox Film Corporation, the company which later became the Fox we know today.

Sir Alexander Korda and his brothers Vincent and Zoltán , known as the Korda brothers also marked the beginning of the European Film era by stretching from Vienna, Berlin, and Paris to London and Hollywood and settling in Great Britain.
Alexander produced and directed such classics as The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) and Rembrandt (1936), both starring Charles Laughton. He was even knighted in 1942 for his  service to British cinema. Zoltán (1895-1961), became a screenwriter/producer/director, Vincent (1897-1979) served as art director on many of his brothers’ films, winning an Oscar for the sets of The Thief of Bagdad (1940).

The Hungarian talent has been recognised ever since, just to name a few origins as Béla Lugosi, Tony Curtis, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, István Szabó, Lajos Koltai, Vilmos Zsigmond, from actors to directors, DOPs, etc. Budapest is highly sought after due to the famous Hungarian crews and locations over the past years the city. Celebrities such as Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, and Harrison Ford from Blade Runner 2049,  Jennifer Lawrence (Red Sparrow), Jamie Foxx (Robin Hood), Keira Knightly (Colette), Bruce Willis (A Good Day to Die Hard), Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde) have been enjoying not only the famous Hungarian professionalism, but the hospitality and chose to wonder around in the city and even come back to mingle with the locals like John Malkovich or Jeremy Irons.

Our advise is always watch out, you might have a Hollywood superstar sipping a coffee by the next table!

Would you like
to read more?

Where it’s worth resting for a few minutes – the most beautiful parks in Budapest

The bustling downtown area, the atmospheric Várnegyed and the sunlit Danube bank all offer numerous experiences to visitors in Budapest. […]

#BUDAPEST INFO #Magazine /

The Museum of Fine Arts: rejuvenation and modernisation

Located in part of the Hungarian capital’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the gems of the area surrounding […]

#BUDAPEST INFO #Magazine /

The Spirit of Budapest Bread

Budapest bakeries are now, without a doubt, in the midst of a renaissance. Up until just a few years ago, […]

#BUDAPEST INFO /