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Lesson Transcript

Simone: All about lesson 10. Top 5 Hungarian Pop Culture Things You Need to Know. In this lesson, we bring you the Hungary of today.

Lesson focus

Csaba: That’s right Hungarian pop culture. One of the more developed aspects of pop culture in Hungary is the music scene.
Simone: Yes Hungarian pop music has in recent history been dominating the charts in contrast to classic Hungarian music.
Csaba: Of course, Hungarian music and traditional folk songs are still favorites of the older generation, and you can see that influence in modern pop too.
Simone: How would you describe modern Hungarian music Csaba?
Csaba: I would say there is a very developed Rock and Alternative music scene but pop groups are always the favorite among younger people.
Simone: But the hip hop scene has been growing in popularity in recent times as well right?
Csaba: Definitely.
Simone: So who is your favorite pop star?
Csaba: Pop stars, I don’t really have one now but I really like the Rock band called Tankcsapda. They play heavier music though.
Simone: Well I am quite the suck of the male singers. So I have to say I am partial to Kiss Tibi. I think he is pretty cute.
Csaba: Yes he is a very charismatic singer.
Simone: But it seems to me that we haven’t mentioned a single pop star yet.
Csaba: That’s right. He is also a more Alternative Rock music personality.
Simone: He sings in the band Quimby.
Csaba: I think in Hungary actually Rock music is more dominant on the charts.
Simone: You could mention all the talent shows now.
Csaba: Oh yes. Now-a-days every TV channel feels like they need one. The X-Factor and another one called Megasztár.
Simone: And even in a country of 10 million, they still get good enough writings.
Csaba: Yeah. Those guys are popular and they always choose at least one legendary musician to be on the panel like Presser Gábor and Nagy Feró.
Simone: Both of them are from the golden era of Rock and Beat.
Csaba: And they still command a lot of respect.
Simone: Okay now another big thing that people like to do is of course go to the movies.
Csaba: Yeah.
Simone: Like many European countries, the top movies on the billboard today are Hollywood movies.
Csaba: But Hungarian cinema is still dear to a lot of Hungarians and many classics are still shown.
Simone: Hungarian film production seems to have slowed down in the past years.
Csaba: Yes but fortunately the movie industry is coming back slowly even against the financial difficulties.
Simone: I have noticed that when I am talking about films with Hungarians, people are most of the time referring to the old classics.
Csaba: Classics and comedies. People still quote them all the time.
Simone: And as we know, a few directors have been very well received abroad as well.
Csaba: For example, Szabó István the only Oscar-winning director from Hungary.
Simone: True. His films are very moving, not just Mephisto but the [*] movie too.
Csaba: Sunshine.
Simone: What about more modern cinema?
Csaba: There are some young directors today who are getting a lot of attention and some older ones who still work in the elites. An example for the former is Hajdú Szabolcs.
Simone: He is really popular as far as art movies go but what about comedies?
Csaba: This decade, there were some good ones like the Üvegtigris and Valami Amerika.
Simone: I think everyone loves Üvegtigris because looser characters are always funny.
Csaba: And that movie has like five or six of them.
Simone: It was hilarious. Some other movies or directors you might want to mention.
Csaba: Recently Tarr Béla has won an award in Berlin but again he is more of an art film director. In general, comedies do much better than more serious genres in Hungary.
Simone: Shall we move on then?
Csaba: Yes the next stop is popular countrymen abroad.
Simone: Define countrymen.
Csaba: See that’s the thing listeners should know about Hungarians. We like to think that everyone is Hungarian which is of course kind of silly sometimes.
Simone: But there are still many famous Hungarians abroad right?
Csaba: Indeed. In Hollywood, there has always been quite a few American born Hungarians like Drew Barrymore and the late Tony Curtis. Recently, the most well known Hungarian director is probably Antal Nimrod.
Simone: Yes he directed the 2010 summer blockbuster Predators.
Csaba: It seems that he is still at the beginning of a long and successful Hollywood career but shall we turn our attention to sports now?
Simone: Sure. So what would you say is the biggest sport in Hungary?
Csaba: Well I think everyone loves
Simone: Soccer.
Csaba: Water polo.
Simone: Really?
Csaba: And the reason is that we are so good at it. It has been three Olympics since we are unbeaten and those guys are carrying gold medals home from everywhere.
Simone: That explains all the attention.
Csaba: Of course everyone watches the national team but clubs also do well.
Simone: Not to mention that there are usually huge muscular and handsome men.
Csaba: And that too, some of them are like Benedek Tibor who is a legend now in this sport. Get a lot of attention. Soccer is also popular but since the National team is not as good as Hungarians expect, it is popular to bash them.
Simone: Oh but for example, Dzsudzsák Balázs is really good.
Csaba: He is and he has been working hard to help the Hungarian National team return to its formal glory.


Simone: It’s always interesting to see how a country’s pop culture develops and I am sure Hungary has plenty more to give.
Csaba: Just keep your eyes and ears open.