Hungarian Conservative

The House of the Nation Documentary Celebrates Hungarian Parliament’s 120th Anniversary

The screening of the documentary at the private premiere on 11 June 2024
Tamás Purger/MTI
The documentary will be premiered to the public on 14 June at the MOZ.GO Hungarian Film Festival, and is also expected to be available on streaming platforms.

The building of the Hungarian Parliament is, above all, a magnificent testament to the creative forces shaped by the Hungarian soul and destiny, a manifestation of the Hungarian national genius, House Speaker László Kövér stressed on Tuesday evening at the gala premiere of the documentary The House of the Nation.

‘There has never been a documentary film that so comprehensively presents the past and present, architecture, and art of the Parliament. The film is a joint jubilee gift to the Parliament, which is 120 years old this year,’ said the Speaker of the National Assembly in his welcome address in the Upper House Chamber. As he put it, the building was once shaped by the predecessors of Hungarians, and today, the building shapes Hungarians in their ideals, sense of life, national ambitions, and dedication. ‘The Parliament is a symbol not only of Hungarian statehood but also of the nation’s independence and sovereignty, and it is part of the UNESCO-recognized and protected World Heritage site.’

The Speaker of the House also mentioned that the Parliament honours the professional and engineering talent of Imre Steindl, befitting the political greatness of former Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy.

‘Those of us who believe in the national genius will always remember Andrássy, Steindl, and their contemporaries with undying gratitude, as they were humble and effective instruments of Hungarian creative power in a given historical period. Even though there were, and still are, those who will never be able to forgive them for this,’

Kövér said. He recalled that representatives of the then-progressive Pest attempted to prevent Imre Steindl’s design from winning, and the journal Nyugat later wrote dismissively about the building. He also noted that in a similar fashion, after 2010, the liberal-left criticized the restoration of Kossuth Square to its original state.

Kövér recalled that in recent years the Parliament building has been ranked first on various websites that list the world’s top tourist and architectural attractions.

‘The number of visitors to the building is expected to reach 650,000 by the end of the year,’ he added.

Csaba Káel, the government commissioner responsible for the development of the Hungarian national film industry, highlighted that the Parliament is a wonderful building, deserving of a comprehensive film presenting its history from its beginnings to the present day. ‘This allows us to get to know the secrets and untold stories of this marvellous building even better, beyond the interesting information shared during the guided tours,’ he said. ‘The film is the most suitable tool for telling this story. An outstanding work has been created even by international standards,’ noted Káel.

The director-cinematographer of the documentary The House of the Nation is András Nagy, and the narrator is the American actress Ema Horvath, known from The Lord of the Rings prequel series. The film was produced by Budamount Film with the support of the National Film Institute and in collaboration with the Parliament Film Workshop.

The film, shot in the spring of 2023, showcases the historical, industrial, and architectural richness of the 268-metre-long, 96-metre-high, over 17,000-square-metre neo-Gothic building to an international audience, bringing closer the pivotal moments of Hungary’s thousand-year history. For example, the film reveals how the building survived World War II, when it was hit by hundreds of incendiary bombs and shelled over several months. The film utilized many technical tools, such as drones and high-brightness lenses, which were previously unavailable. This allowed them to approach parts of the building that no one had ever seen before.

In addition to footage of the Parliament, viewers can also see excerpts from interviews with experts and learn about the heated debates in the 19th century over the style of the new parliament building. The film recalls the failed 1912 assassination attempt on Prime Minister István Tisza, dramatizes the winter months of the early 1920s when nearly three hundred children from the territories lost as a result of the Treaty of Trianon were housed in the empty rooms of the Parliament, and shows archival footage from the autumn of 1956 when a young man climbed the 96-metre-high dome to dismantle the red star.

The House of the Nation is expected to be also available on streaming services. The documentary will be premiered to the public on 14 June at the MOZ.GO Hungarian Film Festival. The gala screening was attended by former President János Áder, Supreme Court President Zsolt András Varga, and the filmmakers.

Read more about the documentary:

Hollywood Actress to Narrate Documentary About Hungarian Parliament

The documentary will be premiered to the public on 14 June at the MOZ.GO Hungarian Film Festival, and is also expected to be available on streaming platforms.