Hi to all,
I am very interested in eastern european culture in general and in
the hungarian one in particular.
I have been in Hungary several times and I love the country; anyway,
I cannot say to know it sufficiently well...
I plan to learn the hungarian language very soon in order to better
help my interest.
Recently I have read an article on the net that I think could be
discussed in this newsgroup. I apologize if it has discussed before.
I wait for comments directly from hungarian people
Hungary, The Hollywood of porno
By John Nadler and Emmanuelle Richard
Copyright (c) 1995
During a recent visit to California, a Budapest resident discovered a shelf
devoted entirely to Hungary in the pornography section of a San Francisco
video store. The titles were forgettable and predictable, 'Sluts and Angels
in Budapest', and so on. On a lark, he rented a film and watched it in shock
as a team of nimble actors engaged in innovative sexual acts on moving public
transportation for the duration of the number 18 tram line. To his horror, as
the tram fleeted past, he caught sight of his own apartment building
sandwiched between two pairs of gyrating butt cheeks.
The moral of this story: Be careful what you touch on a number 18 tram.
Hungary is the European capital of pornographic film making. Or, as Italian
film producer and casting agent Gianfranco Romagnolli declares, Hungary "is
the center of the porno world."
Statistics back Romagnolli's claim. Eight to 10 pornographic movies are shot
in Hungary every month -- 10% of the continent's monthly output of 100
films, according to the business magazine "Privat Profit." Budapest's
community of porn actors, directors, and producers constitutes the
"greatest [talent] pool of resources of its kind in Europe concentrated
in a given place," reports France's HOT magazine, the "Variety" of European
blue movies. Ninety percent of Europe's erotic actresses are Hungarian-born,
say both French porn actor and director Christopher Clark. As a measure of
proof, the industry's biggest stars -- Ciccolina, Anita Rinaldi, Erica Bella,
Angelica Bella, and Simona Valli, to name only a few -- are all Hungarian
women masked behind Italian stage names. (Ciccolina was born Ilona Staller;
Rinaldi, Anita Skultety.)
Even puritans cannot deny porn's positive impact. Erotic films are shot
on MAFILM sound stages, pumping cash into the coffers of Hungary's
ailing movie studio complex. Porn flics employ film crews, actors, and
bring spin-off business to hotels, restaurants, and "location" owners
throughout the country.
Non the less, porn also harbors a viscous dark side -- child sex,
the spread of AIDS, exploitation of women.
For bad or for good, the question remains: Why has Euro porn chosen
Budapest to be its Tinsel town?
The simplest reason for the growth of erotic movie making here is that,
unlike many European countries, "in Hungary there is no law [banning]
pornographic movie making," says Romagnolli, co-owner of the Blue Angel,
a local casting agency for porn actresses.
"It is forbidden to use actors under 18 years of age," explains Istvan
Kovacs, the owner of LUX video, Hungary's only local porn movie studio.
"But there are no regulations banning perversities like sodomy, bestiality,
But this permissive legal climate is not the only catalyst. According
to industry analysts, the two most important factors behind the growth
of porn in Hungary are the beauty of Magyar women, and the attitude of
some in this culture towards sex.
That Hungary's gene pool spawns an inordinately high percentage of
female beauties is lore among visitors to this country and is echoed
by erotic film makers. "Budapest will stay the [pornographic] center of
Europe because of its girls," says Clark.
Declares Kovacs: "Hungarian girls are the most beautiful in Europe."
Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, such generalizations are
debatable. Safer to say that the typical Magyar 'look' -- a dark
voluptuous east-west hybrid -- appears to be the industry's current
"flavor of the week." According to Kovacs, Hungary has an "exotic
reputation" among consumers of porn. "There is a romance about Hungary,"
he says. "They find us more exciting than westerners."
Tastes will change, of course. But Hungary is still expected to remain
an important center for Euro porn long after a new "flavor" is found.
The reason: Magyars put out. "We can find in Budapest [at any one time]
around 50 girls ready to star in a pornographic movie," Clark was quoted
as ssaying in France's Hot magazine. Italian casting agent Romagnolli agrees.
Clark told the Hungary Report, "In France it is hard to find girls who
are 18 or 19 years old and are willing to star in such movies."
Kovacs, defending national dignity, explains the phenomenon by saying
Magyar culture simply boasts a more liberal" attitude towards sex than
"People here are more open minded," says Anita Rinaldi, 23, one of Europe's
top erotic actresses and co-owner (along with boyfriend Romagnolli) of
Budapest's Blue Angel casting agency.
Adds Romagnolli: "The mentality [in Hungary] is very open. In Italy,
we have the Catholic Church and the mind is closed. In eastern Europe,
the mind is open."
What Romagnolli calls open-mindeness may also be desperation. Poverty may
inspiring young men and women with few options but to appear in hard-core
"photo ops" in exchange for badly needed cash. But even if hard times are
the catalyst, porn producers argue there is an enthusiasm for sex in this
culture which makes erotic acting an acceptable career option.
The same passion is palpable on screen. "What [Hungarians] do on set is
real," says Kovacs. "It has a quality to it that is real... I usually work
with people who really like doing this."
This attitude is not new to the porn world. Legendary US porn star
John Holmes, who appeared in 2,274 blue films over a 20 year career,
once said of his work: "A happy gardener is one with dirty fingernails,
and a happy cook is a fat cook. I never get tired of what I do because
I'm a sex fiend. I'm very lusty."
Hungarian porn actresses differ in attitude, despite the "passion" they
exude on film. According to Anita Rinaldi, who has coupled with the
continent's best endowed porn men, screen sex is not enjoyable.
"I give only my body for this," says Rinaldi. "Not my soul. I imitate sex.
I don't participate in it.
"I've never had an on-screen partner I've particularly liked either...
My partners think I enjoy [screen sex] because I act like I do. But I never
Rinaldi's professionalism is a reflection of the pride which permeates
Europe's legitimate porn community. US hard-core is dominated by plotless
rubbish, she says. European movies are artistic.
"People who don't know about pornographic film making think that you take
two people, and they f*ck. That's it," explains Romagnolli. "That's not it.
"To make the porn version of 'Hamlet' we spent 300,000 DM. These actors
studied, rehearsed, and prepared. Porn is not just f*cking. We begin every
project with a screenplay just like a normal film."
French porn actor Christopher Clark, lauded as the Robert De Niro of erotica,
has done much to bring that better side of European porn to Hungary.
Clark, the 37-year-old star of sexual versions of "Hamlet" and
"Citizen Kane," visited Budapest a decade ago with his then-Magyar
girlfriend and immediately recognized the region's assets: low film
production costs, exotic locations, "and a formidable pool of women."
Clark imported west Euro erotic film auteurs, and began shooting movies.
Budapest is now his home.
Sadly, Hungary is also the home to porn's ugly underbelly. In 1993 Magyar
police arrested 23 people involved in a child pornography ring. Two Dutch
nationals are still in detention for shooting sex films involving three and
four-year-old children. According to Jozsef Csaba, head of the Youth
Protection Department of the Budapest police, Austrian, German, and Dutch
pornographers still threaten Magyar youths. "They find boys from the
countryside," says Csaba. "Orphans, Gypsies, the disadvantaged. They come
with cheap materials and make primitive films they can sell for 1,000 to
Even adults appearing in legitimate features are at risk. According to
French photographer Denys de Francescho, young Hungarian women hired
by Budapest casting agencies for shoots in western Europe are often over
worked, abused, and exploited. de Francescho claims a Magyar actress named
'Monika' was paralyzed for eight months after one violent shoot.
Monika's last name was not given to the Hungary.
Report to verify this charge, and actor Clark says allegations of
widespread exploitation within the industry's upper echelon are unfounded.
But there is no denying it: porn performers are fodder. A hit like
"Deep Throat" can make millions for its producers. Actors and actresses,
paid by the day, see none of the profits. The standard pay rate for a
Hungarian: 800 DM a day for a supporting role; 1500 DM for a main character.
A major feature takes about ten days to shoot. A short movie can be filmed
in a day or two.
There are other dangers. The most deadly is HIV infection, and the 1988
AIDS death of John Holmes proves that even porn icons are not immune.
(According to Rolling Stone magazine, Holmes appeared with Hungary's
Ciccolina in "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empress" after being
diagnosed HIV positive.) French actor Clark admits that the
specter of AIDS terrifies him. But many Hungarians downplay the threat.
"Of course, I'm worried," says Rinaldi. "But all actors must have no
more than a three-week-old HIV test before a shoot, otherwise they can't
work. And the people who do this on a professional level have a stable
Others disagree. According to Clark, some Hungarian porn performers--
newcomers to the trade -- are recklessly promiscuous in their private
lives. "Some actresses will have sex with [several] boys at a disco,
and then the next day will show up on set to work," says Clark.
This lack of AIDS awareness may be another reason why some young people
here are open to erotica. Women are at greatest risk mainly because the
industry prefers Hungarian actresses. "Hungary has no male porn stars,"
says producer Kovacs.
Why are Magyar men in less demand? Male skills in the mainstream porn
trade are narrow and rare. A beautiful actress with charisma and complete
sexual openness has a shot at stardom. Men are different. John Holmes,
homely, skinny, and bereft of acting skill, founded a stellar career
in the US on one item: a penis ten inches long when
erect. Actors must also possess Herculean self-control -- stamina that
Clark metaphorically calls professionalism. "I work very professionally,"
he says. "I concentrate and I do it... I can act for hours and hours
without being tired."
The dark and legitimate worlds or European pornography co-exist in Hungary.
But not in isolation. According to Clark, low-budget videos-- often of
child porn and bestiality -- is overwhelming the mainstream industry.
"European porn is in crisis," laments Clark. "The amateurs are stealing
Rising prices are also driving legitimate producers away from Hungary who
are gazing further east where costs are lower. But, whether a blessing
or a curse, the mafia in the former USSR is keeping business rooted here.
Even if producers stop shooting in Hungary completely, it will matter
little to local performers. According to casting agencies, European
will always come here for talent -- searching for that Magyar "passion"
which plays so well on screen.
And whether inspired by financial desperation or a subculture of sexual
freedom, a small number of Hungarians will strive to become members of --
what France's HOT magazine calls -- "a new race of actresses ...
born in Budapest."
-Krisztina Marton assisted in the research of this article.
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