Budapest has long been a popular destination for shooting well-known American films –– movies such as “Die Hard,” “I Spy,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” It is chosen because of its beautiful scenery and versatility. It has represented Buenos Aires, Munich, Moscow and even the surface of Mars in “The Martian.”
However, Budapest has slowly transitioned from being a backdrop to producing some top-tier movies of its own. Most people claim that the 1950s to 1960s was the golden age for Hungarian cinema. This just so happened to be during the peak time of the Hungarian communist dictatorship. During this time, films were used as a subtle critique of the communist regime.
As time moved on, Hungarian films started to openly address social issues. Peter Bacso’s “The Witness” was actually banned for over a decade because of its satirical depiction of the communist regime. The movie has also become a cult classic and is deeply ingrained in Hungarian culture.
Recently, Hungarian film has been receiving the attention it deserves. The film “Son of Saul” produced by Laszlo Nemes won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language in 2015. Also, three Hungarian films landed on the BBC Culture’s list of the 100 greatest films of the 21st century.
More recent works include the 2003 movie “Control,” which was shot entirely on the Budapest underground metro system, the 2006 movie “Taxidermia,” a retelling of Hungarian history from the Second World War to present day, and Kornel Mundruczo’s very artistically shot “White God.”
Whether it be for a beautiful backdrop or for the amazing directors and stories, Budapest is starting to become a staple in the world cinema scene.