The passages of Budapest are not only famous for their beauty and for being hard to find, but because of several film shootings as well.
- The real Parisin Arcade was not the one man can see today.
The original building designed by Mihaly Pollock around 1817 based on the French Passage des Panoramas was a real treasure.
It gave roof for shoemakers and to goldsmiths. Budapest’s first department store – advertised as Budapest nicest sight – was the only building which was illuminated during the royal visit in 1820.
Even if it was a luxurious bazaar, in 1906 the arcade was already outdated which could not fit into Budapest image.
The recent building designed by Henrik Schmal was built in 1909. The house is an interesting mixture of Arab, Moorish and Goth style. Ceramics were manufactured by Zsolnay, the painted leaden glass designed by Miksa Roth gave a house an upmarket image.
The Downtown Savings Bank that commissioned it had offices on the ground floor which now are vacant.
The arcade was enlarged in the 1980s with a new passageway (Snake Court) that branches off and opens into Haris köz.
Because of the bad design and cheap, un-cleanable materials and the lack of proper lighting the extension became a sort of slum in a mere decade. Good example how different architectural styles cannot communicate to each other over decades.
A couple of years ago the arcade gave place for enormous sized house parties, today it is guarded by two security personal to make sure no-one will harm neither the arcade nor the building.
According to recent rumors the Parisian Arcade got a new owner and the renovations will start in the near future.
- The passages of Budapest are not only famous for their beauty and for being hard to find but because of several film shootings as well.
In this one in particular, the first part of the vampire/werewolf sequel ’Underworld’ was shot, but its memorable for being the site for the opening scene of the Gary Oldman/Colin Firth movie ’Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy’, a film based on the famous John leCarré spy novel.
In the past years Budapest became the number one city in Europe for movie shootings. There are two main reasons:
1) tax concessions made shootings cheaper here: to shoot in places with turistic importance (e.g. UNESCO World heritage sites) costs about 7 €/m2/day, (half of it for the technical service). In regional central cities the daily price is only 500 HUF/m2! The tax break draws more and more productions to our country. (film law, 2013.)
2) could-be-anywhere arquitecture: Budapest can be transformed into other cities with slight alterations.
In the Robert Pattinson movie ’Bel Ami’, the inscriptions on the Andrássy Avenue were changed to French and the street was covered with sand, and voilá: it was XIX.th c. Paris!
If you went to the Széchenyi spa and before entering you had a kind of deja vu feeling, it’s because the building was the palaceof Evita in Buenos Aires in the movie ’Evita’.
The „slight alteration strategy” works with the population as well: in the Brad Pitt zombie movie ’World War Z”, hundreds of Hungarian extras showed their groaning talent as zombies.
But the best example for the chameleon-like arquitecture of our city is the movie ’Munich’. In this movie Budapest was the set for cities like London, Hoorn, Munich, Rome and Paris.
In the brand new part of Die Hard, Budapest was Moscow, which was a pretty interesting experience for a country which was once a soviet satellite state.
This is an action movie, so, the film is memorable for us because during several months all the news were about „corpses lying next to the Opera house”, „tanks crossing the main avenue”, „helicopters above the Margaret island”, you know, just the usual… reading only the headlines one might have thought that we were under attack…