Hungarian cinema is going strong thanks to a 20% tax rebate and a new generation of helmers flexing its storytelling muscle.
There are five Hungarian features screening in various sections of the Berlinale: Csaba Bollok’s “Iska’s Journey,” Arpad Bogdan’s “Happy New Life,” Karoly Esztergalyos’ “Men in the Nude,” Krisztina Goda’s “Children of Glory” and Srdan Golubovic’s Hungarian-Serbian co-production “The Trap.”
Not since 1994 has Hungary had such a strong presence at the fest.
In addition, Gabor Herendi’s “Lora” and Janos Szasz’ “Opium — Diary of a Madwoman” are screening in the Market.
“Opium” picked up helmer, lenser and sound awards at the Hungarian Film Week, which ended Feb. 6.
Film Week pics were pre-selected for the first time in the event’s 37-year history as 37 pics had been entered but only 17 could be screened in one week. “Iska’s Journey” won the auteur pic award.
“This is an exceptional Berlinale for us and we’re very busy,” said Eva Vezer, topper of the Hungarian Film Commission.
“It’s the result of years of work. When we noticed that there’s a new generation of directors developing we realized we really had to push them internationally.”
The new generation of helmers, which includes Kornel Mundruczo (“Johanna”), Gyorgy Palfi (“Taxidermia”), Benedek Fliegauf (“Dealer”), Agnes Kocsis (“Fresh Air”), Balint Kenyeres (“Before Dawn”) and Antal Nimrod (“Kontroll”).
Nimrod is one of the few Hungarian helmers who defected to Hollywood to shoot “Vacancy” starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson.
The others tend to stay close to home. Many of them are former pupils of the late film lecturer Sandor Simo; per Vezer, much of the current success of Hungarian cinema can be attributed to Simo.
The lack of sound stages in Hungary should be resolved when the Korda Studios in Eytek near Budapest opens in May.