Hollywood on the Danube
Getting lost in the narrow, winding streets of Budapest, the feeling that you've been transported to a beautifully written decadent thriller never leaves you. The architecture, the light, the shadows, and the passing faces... it seems that everything here is a carefully composed scenario you stumbled into. Perhaps that's why Budapest is a star of the silver screen, no matter what might be needed. In Alan Parker's 1996 Evita, for instance, Budapest serves as Buenos Aires.
In the 2011 thriller The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins - it's Rome. In The Steven Spielberg drama Munich, 2005 - the most elegant Budapest artery pretends to be in Paris. When the massive Hollywood studio, Raleigh Studios, decided to colonize the environs of Budapest in 2010, everybody noticed.
It's now on the leading edge of European film studios. Among the films made there so far, Monte Carlo, made last year, meant the construction of Monaco's Hotel de Paris in replica.
Thus Budapest has already earned the moniker Hollywood on the Danube. It has battled with Prague, not so far away, and it won. But it has also beaten out Paris, London, and Sofia. Cost is a prime factor. Making The Borgias miniseries, starring Jeremy Irons, cost a lot less in Budapest than it would have in Rome, and the producers didn't hide that fact.
The roots of Hungarian cinema go as deeply as those of photography in Hungary - László Moholy-Nagy, André Kertész, Georges Brassaï, Lucien Hervé and Robert Capa all hail from here, and modern photography is unimaginable without them. But film, too, has a strong Hungarian presence, whether that's the founder of Paramount Pictures, Adolph Zukor, or the director of the legendary movie Casablanca, Michael Curtiz. It's in the air, and you can feel it. It's not only one of the most photogenic cities on the planet. Budapest is a chameleon and a labyrinth. Getting lost here is sheer pleasure. Do it, and you may find a scenario of your own.
Keywords: Budapest, movies