Hungarians are, by nature, pessimistic. It comes as little in the way of surprise, therefore, that their annual film festival, now in its eighteenth year, should be titled 'Titanic'. Whilst a dictionary would define the word as 'of strength, size and power', the common association is of tragedy and disaster, recalling of course the sinking of the White Star liner of that name in April 1912.
But a visit to the Uránia cinema is never a downward experience, and a screening of 'Curling', a French language film by Canadian director Denis Coté was certainly no exception.
|a still from the film 'Curling'|
For should the film ever prove tedious, and this was definitely not the case of last night's thriller set against a bleak snow filled landscape of lonely motels, bowling alleys and frozen woods, then the experience of the Uránia itself would never fail but to excite interest.
|Uránia cinema - entrance|
Opened as a live theatre in 1899, by 1916 the Uránia had become a full time cinema and has continued in that role right up until the present day. A mixture of exotic Moorish and Venetian Gothic architecture the entire building, both inside and out, is a marvellous fantasy of mosaic, mirror, gold, glitter and glass.
|Uránia cinema - interior of the auditorium|
Within, the 700 seat auditorium remains remarkably unchanged, an architectural delight of period lighting, tiered balconies and mysterious side aisles. A heavily curtained proscenium arch conceals the wide screen, only to be tantalisingly revealed as the lights dim and the credits roll at the onset of the film.
The Uránia is but one of many Art cinemas in a city which, happily for us, continues to regard film as a serious art form. With the arrival of friends, Stephen and Simon, tomorrow, the promise of 'My Perestroika' to be shown on Saturday is a date not to be missed.