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Brazilian film shot in Budapest

The film entitled Budapest, which is based on Chico Buarque de Hollanda’s novel with the same title, is made in co-production of the Brazilian Nexus Cinema e Video and the Hungarian Eurofilm Studio.

12 March, 2008 - filmhu
Brazilian film shot in Budapest
The novel was published in Hungary in 2005: the central character writes popular books under the name of others, lives in Rio de Janeiro with his wife and son.
The screenplay way adapted by Rita Buzzar, who is also the producer of the film and managing director of Nexus Cinema e Vídeo. To realize the film she co-operated with Eurofilm Studio established by Péter Miskolczi and Gábor Váradi. Rita Buzzar read the novel in seven hours and immadiately knew she must make a movie based on the story. ”I liked the contrats between Rio de Janeiro and Budapest: cold and warm, fantasy and reality, longing to be away and being homesick. All these can be present in one person at the same time. These ’mirror plays’ and dualities interested me first of all” – said the scriptwriter-producer at the press conference held at the Brazilian Embassy.

Gabi Hámori and Leonardo Medeiros (Photo: Adrienn Szabó)

The total budget of the film is more than 2 million euros, two-third of which is covered by Brazilian sources, and the rest twenty-five percent by the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary and the 20% tax refund (which was still valid after the announcement of the shooting). The shooting started on 15th January, it took place in Rio de Janeiro, then in Budapest until 15th March. The acclaimed writer spends a day in Budapest and then he cannot get away from the idea of returning to this country and learning the language.

When he writes a bestseller based on the boring biography of a Germann businessman, and his wife praises the businessman for it. To leave behind his existential and creative crisis, he goes to Budapest again to learn the language, to study another culture and to live another life. His Hungarian teacher Kriska, portrayed by Gabriella Hámori, is of great help to him. Besides Hámori other Hungarian actors, like Ádám Rajhona, András Bálint and Péter Kálloy Molnár also appear in the film.


Gabi Hámori (Photo: Adrienn Szabó)

Gabi Hámori plays a Hungarian teacher, so she speaks in Hungarian most of the time, as she teaches Hungarian to the main character portrayed by Leonardo Medeiros, who passionately likes this language. The Hungarian language is described in the book as ”the only language in the world the devil respects”. Though this metaphor was not cleared at the press conference, which took place in three languages (English, Portuguese and Hungarian) it turned out that the staff communicated in their native languages during shooting. They used English to communicate only in very special cases. ”The look, gestures, rhythm of the director lead me to understand what he really wanted.” said Gabi Hámori at the press conference. ”I represent a gentle, calm, balanced storyline in the film” – added Gabi.

The producers asked Walter Carvalho to direct the film, who earlier was better known as a cinematographer. He photographed films like Central Station, Madame Sata and Carandiru just to mention the most outstanding ones. The director’s son Lula Carvalho photographed the Budapest scenes and he was also the cameraman of the film entitled Tropa de Elite, which was awarded the Golden Berlin Bear this year at the Berlin International Film Festival. 

Gabi Hámori and Leonardo Medeiros (Photo: Adrienn Szabó)

Walter Carvalho said at the press conference it is always very difficult to photograph a film about a city to avoid cliches. Péter Miskolczi added: the Brazilian staff chose the locations independent of the Hungarian staff, so we can have the chance to look at our city from a different perspective. The producers mentioned an example: to choose an appropriate location they visited many pubs which were, however, all the same. In their despair they asked a taxi driver to show them his favourite pub, so some scenes were shot in a typical suburbian authentic Hungarian pub. The Heroes’ Square is also presented in an unusual way: the well-known square is shown the way the statue of Christ the Redemeer atop Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro is usually photographed. The writer had never been to Budapest, he only described the city as it existed in his imagination, and that is why real and fictional elements blend in the novel.

The film is supposed to be released in February 2009 both in Brazilia and Hungary. This is the first film made in Brazilian-Hungarian co-production.

Gabi Hámori (Photo: Adrienn Szabó)

Chico Buarque’s novel Budapest won literary recognition in Brazil in 2005. ”The main character of the story written in first person singular has very peculiar sense of humour, easy-mannered and his style knows no bounds. Chico Buarque is an annoying person. Who likes the acrobat, who never falls off the tight-rope sretched between Rio and Budapest? – said José Saramago about the writer formally best known for his music.