Filming in Hungary

Hungary's Latest and Greatest Films

An Insight Into The Unique World of Hungarian Cinema

Hungarians have taken an important part in the film world ever since its beginning more than a hundred years ago. While many Hungarian filmmakers emigrated to the West in the middle of the 20th century, the Soviet era provided infrastructure for Hungarian films to flourish, though within strict political boundaries. After the political change and due to the 2008 financial crisis, the future of this country’s film production was somewhat under question.


Yet in the last few years to everyone’s delight and surprise a new wave of unique and successful films have arrived. Here is Progressive’s collection of the best.

Hungarians have taken an important part in the film world ever since its beginning more than a hundred years ago. While many Hungarian filmmakers emigrated to the West in the middle of the 20th century, the Soviet era provided infrastructure for Hungarian films to flourish, though within strict political boundaries. After the political change and due to the 2008 financial crisis, the future of this country’s film production was somewhat under question.


Yet in the last few years to everyone’s delight and surprise a new wave of unique and successful films have arrived. Here is Progressive’s collection of the best.

The Audio-Visual Journey with the Sonderkommando

Each actor played in their own language in the film, which is how eight languages create the Bable-like chaos.”László Nemes Jeles, director

In the Son of Saul, the director László Nemes Jeles revisited the topic of the Holocaust like no other filmmaker. Firstly he chose to focus on the Sonderkommando a group of prisoners, who had to work at gas chambers in the death camps. Secondly, he created an unprecedented visual-audio world which shifted its focus from showing the horror’s of the Holocaust in a straightforward graphic manner, but rather conveying it as the viewer’s personal dark journey accompanying the main character.


Youtube Trailer for son of saul

They reached this unusual effect filming on 35mm film in 4:3 ratio, constantly with close-up framing, keeping the camera on the head of the lead, or on the narrow sight he can see. This way we get personal impressions of the terrible scenes, therefore we are not simply the viewers anymore of the dramatic violence. This effect was enhanced by its outstanding sound design, which focused on conveying the impression that the viewer is one of the kommando members as well. No wonder a film so unconventional and profound was awarded an Oscar!


Youtube an interview with son of saul's dop

How to Face the End of the Second World War

Another film that deals with the events connected to the Second World War is Ferenc Török’s 1945. Made in 2017, this movie deals with the fact that countryside Hungarian authority and inhabitants of a village deported jews and confiscated their property. Yet it shown a unique point in time; it does not show how these atrocities happened during the war, but rather what happened after the end of the war and the defeat of Hungary. It shows the complicated issue of what happens when the survivor jews come back to their home village to live again in their confiscated homes and to live next to those who did crimes against them. Everyone has to question and face their own conscience and role in the community.


Youtube TRAILER FOR 1945

This film is important because it shows the huge tensions and hard situations that occurred in Hungary after the Second World War. Matching the serious nature of the topic, the movie is black and white.

What It Takes to Become Hungarian

The Citizen was created by Roland Vranik in 2016, in the height of the refugee crisis thousands of people escaped to Western Europe through Hungary, which became a central issue in local and international politics. This film is outstandingly honest film on human nature, empathetically telling the story of three people, two refugees and one Hungarian, among whom neither are right or wrong, but simply human. It is striking to see a film with so much humanity in such inhumane times. Its film language is simple and flawless, unpredictable and free of clichés.

Roland Vranik (the director) ran after me on the street, he was not too reassuring, his head happened to be shaved, he was in a hoodie, he was panting and he asked whether I was a refugee. The first 5 minutes were not easy, but then we got to like each other a lot.”

Dr. Marcelo Cake-Bally, the lead actor of African origins recollects the surprising story of being offered the role

Youtube trailer for the citizen

Mundroczó’s Symbolic Films

We worked with two hundred and eighty dogs altogether, and in the large scenes there are more that two hundred of them present. Professionals say that this is absolutely film history.”Kornél Mundruczó, director

Made in 2014, Kornél Mundroczó's film White God won the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival. Its first unconventional aspect is that its main character is a mixed-breed dog, who is much loved by his owner, a young girl. When she moves in with her father, he gets rid of the dog by leaving it out on the street. After countless dark adventures the dog sets itself free and starts a revolution with other dogs against the people who were cruel to them.


Youtube white god's trailer

Finally free, this huge pack of hundreds of dogs run through the streets of Budapest terrorizing the locals for revenge. They create an astonishing sight, for example while running through the Buda Tunnel. It is a unique story of a minority breaking free and taking revenge on its god-like authority - humans.


A year after The Citizen by Roland Vranik, Kornél Mundruczó also created a film about the refugee crisis called Jupiter’s Moon. The movie accompanies a teenager Syrian refugee in Hungary, a story which becomes more and more transcendent. Although he was afflicted with fatal wounds, he not only continues living, but also gains the superhuman ability of flying. Awe-inspiring cinematography captures these flights above Budapest in an outstandingly beautiful way, featuring various special spots of the Hungarian capital. Unlike The Citizen’s raw humanity, this film offers a more symbolic reading in a transcendental manner, alluding to religious motifs.


Youtube the trailer for jupiter's moon

Youtube behind the scenes of jupiter's moon

Dreams and Love in a Slaughterhouse

Made in 2017, On Body and Soul is a beautiful and truly unique love story featuring two workers in a slaughterhouse. Full of symbolics and humanity, Ildikó Enyedi’s movie is undoubtedly one of the most psychological and spiritual made lately, which is undoubtedly why it won the Berlin International Film Festival’s Golden Bear award, was nominated for an Oscar and why Alexandra Borbély, the lead actress won the European Actress award at the European Film Awards.


Youtube official trailer for on body and soul

Intimate Insights into Various Generations

The 2016 film It's Not the Time of My Life is an intimate depiction of midlife crises and tension when two couples and their children have to live together temporarily in a flat. An interesting fact is that the entire film was shot in the director’s, Szabolcs Hajdú's flat completely independently, without any state funding. At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival it was awarded the Crystal Globe and the Best Actor Award. This seems to be part of a new wave of honest, intimate films about specific generations.


During the day I worked at a construction site, in the evening I edited the film. Founding was given for the film by private people via our producers. Our budget was about 5000 dollars, but we could have done it for less, at the worst by using weaker equipment.”

Szabolcs Hajdu, director

Youtube it's not the time of my life trailer

Another film like this is For Some Inexplicable Reason made by Gábor Reisz as his diploma film at the Hungarian Film and Theatre University. Premiered in 2014, it won multiple awards at the Turin Film Festival for its unique candity and playful film language with which he presented the existential and romantic crisis of an unemployed fresh Humanities graduate in Budapest. Next to this, its humor and music made by the director and lead actor quickly made it a favourite movie for Hungarian millennials.

Youtube trailer for For Some Inexplicable Reason

The Power of Community

Sing is a Hungarian short film, that won an Oscar in 2016. The beautifully produced film directed by Kristóf Deák can be read as a symbolic work about the psychology of communities and authority. It was set in 1991, emphasising its historical and political aspects, that are also relevant in our current times.

Youtube sing trailer

This seems to be a period in Hungarian film, which is one of reflection on one’s own generation, on current issues and on the unprocess issues of Hungarian history. Not only are the topics outstanding and sincere, but also the film language and style of each of these films are unique, showing how rich Hungary is not only in directors, but also in DOPs and sound designers, not to mention brilliant locations!

Share this page:

More From Insights

This site uses cookies, read our policy here

Preparing download
Zipping files