It has been recently reported in the Hungarian media that a large-scale documentary is in the making narrating the story of and showcasing the Hungarian Parliament, under the title The House of the Nation. The filming is currently underway, presenting the architectural, historical, and artistic richness of the building as well as the emblematic moments of Hungarian history.
According to the statement released after a press event about the production earlier this week, the creators aim to introduce the Parliament to both foreign and domestic audiences and bring Hungary’s history closer to the viewers through the building’s story.
The statement recalls that 140 years ago, in 1883, the plans for the construction of the Parliament building were accepted and the creation of the monumental building on the bank of the Danube began. The Parliament, designed by Imre Steindl, is now considered one of the world’s most famous buildings. ‘We were able to use many technical tools, such as drones and high-quality lenses, that were not previously available. So, we were able to approach parts of the building that no one has ever seen before, not even those who built it,’ director and cinematographer András Nagy explained.
The documentary will also include interviews with experts, including art historians Margit Kerekes and Katalin Keserü, historian Róbert Hermann, or architect Anthony Gall, as well as archive footage. The production will also recall important historical events that took place in the House, such as the assassination attempt against István Tisza in 1912. Screenwriter György Somogyi emphasised that it was important to avoid making the documentary film a boring history lesson and, since the film is intended for the international market, it had to be kept in mind that what may be historically or politically clear to a Hungarian may mean nothing to a foreigner.
The on-screen narrator will be American actress Ema Horvath, who, as one can guess from her surname, is of Hungarian ancestry. She is known for her work in the prequel series to The Lord of the Rings. She will lead the viewers through Hungarian historical events, such as the bombing of Budapest during World War II, the Kossuth Square fusillade in 1956, or the removal of the red star in 1990. The documentary also recalls that in the early 1920s, during the winter months, almost three hundred children were accommodated in the empty rooms of the Parliament, after they arrived in Budapest with their families from the territories lost as a result of the Trianon Treaty.
The House of the Nation is produced by Budamount Film with the support of the National Film Institute and in cooperation with the Parliament Film Studio. It is expected to be released in the autumn of 2023. ‘Our goal is to take the film to as many places in the world as possible, so we will find every platform—streaming services, television, or film distributors—to allow as many people as possible to see the film,’ director András Nagy said.