The first ever Hungarian Film Festival in the Philippines will be held on December 1-3, 2017 at Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City as presented by the Embassy of Hungary in the Philippines and Shangri-La Plaza. The event will showcase four critically acclaimed films never before screened in the Philippines.
Hungarian cinema has a long tradition dating back to the first years of the 20th Century, during the past decades the inhabitants of the Central European country gave major contributions to world cinema. Many pioneers of Hungarian cinema influenced the art form from within Hungary, like directors István Szabó, Béla Tarr and Miklós Jancsó, or from abroad, like producers William Fox (founder of Fox Studios), Adolph Zukor (founder of Paramount Pictures) and Alexander Korda (a pioneer of the British film industry).
The event is open to the public. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are distributed at the ticket booth 30 minutes before every screening. Limited seating since the Premiere Theatre is an 88-seater.
The festival is extended to Sunday, December 3, following the same schedule as December 2.
Presenting the Academy Award Winning Son of Saul (2015) as its main feature, the festival aims to bring Hungarian culture and history closer to a new audience in the Philippines. Son of Saul is drama directed by László Nemes and is set the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, and follows a day-and-a-half in the life of Saul Ausländer (played by Géza Röhrig), a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, a special forced labour unit made up of prisoners. The film won the Grand Prix of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, the the award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. Son of Saul was the first Hungarian film to win the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and it is the second Hungarian film to win an Oscar, the first one being István Szabó’s Mephisto in 1981.
The blockbuster film Kincsem – Bet on Revenge (2016) will also be screened, a historical drama about the world’s most successful racing horse. With a more serious tone, Strangled (2016) will bring to the screen a psycho-thriller set in the 1960s oppressive Hungary, when a series of atrocious murders shock a small town. On a lighter note Paw (2015) is a family film about a world famous rescue dog and his family.
Son of Saul (Saul fia)
(2015, feature, 35mm, color, 107 minutes) first feature
October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau
Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.
Strangled (A martfűi rém)
(2016, feature, digital, color, 123 minutes, cinemascope, DolbyDigital) thriller
Based on real-life events, this psycho-thriller is set in the provincial Hungary of the 1960s, when a series of atrocious murders shock the small town of Martfű. A psychotic killer is on the prowl, who continues to slaughter young women while an innocent man is wrongly accused and sentenced for crimes he could never have committed. A determined detective arrives on the scene and soon becomes obsessed with the case while under pressure from the prosecutor to see a man hang. Stuck in the suffocating social, political and psychological world of socialist Hungary, we soon find ourselves entangled in a web of intricate conspiracy and disturbing drama.
Kincsem – Bet on Revenge (Kincsem)
(2017, feature, HD, color, 122 minutes) drama, romance, adventure, history, feature
Hungarian aristocrat and supreme horse trainer Sandor Blaskovich is killed by his former friend, Austrian officer Otto von Oettingen, while arresting him for treason. Von Oettingen takes over the Blaskovich castle with his young daughter Klara, while Sandor’s orphaned son Ernő has to move to a poor labourer’s cottage. Ernő cannot forgive Oettingen for taking his father’s life, land and honour. Years later, he goes on to purchase and train a magnificent horse Kincsem, which he believes will be his winning ticket to regaining the family home. The horse grows into an unbeatable champion but is wild and unruly just as is the woman who also shows a keen interest in Kincsem: Klara von Oettingen.
(2015, feature, digital, color, 92 minutes) family film
Inspired by true events, Paw is a story about a rescue dog and his equally gifted trainer, who together overcome both internal and external obstacles to achieve international fame, success, and fulfillment. Zoli, a tram engineer, comes to see the curative role his volunteer rescue work plays in his desire to help others. Paw’s gift for search and rescue work, under the gifted guidance of Zoli’s training, brings them both to the calling and accomplishments that will define them both: as a rescue team. Zoli’s further challenge is to open his heart to Eszter, whom he loves, but almost loses. Paw is not an action-driven film; it is a sweet, emotional striptease by ordinary people who achieve heroic levels, day by day. The use of brief animated sequences gives the film a light, humorous and otherworldly touch.