Calling all movie enthusiasts and football fans! The inaugural Hungarian Film Fiesta in Malaysia is kicking off a week before the World Cup in Russia, promising to get you into the spirit of the sport and everything it stands for with a selection of football-themed movies.
All screenings are free, courtesy of the Embassy of Hungary in Kuala Lumpur.
The Film Fiesta, held at Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) Pavilion KL from June 7 to 10, commemorates the 65th anniversary of the “match of the century” between Hungary and England in 1953, where Hungary won 6-3.
“At that time, Hungary had one of the best, if not the best, teams in the world. The international success on the football pitch served as a bright ray of light for Hungarian society who otherwise struggled under Soviet and Communist oppression at the time.
“So, our boys beating the formidable English team in London was reason for great national pride,” says Attila Kali, ambassador of Hungary to Malaysia.
The Hungarian Film Fiesta presents two documentaries and two comedies, providing a glimpse into the country’s glorious football past.
“Our aim is to entertain the audience, while also raising awareness about the extraordinary past of Hungarian football, as well as our excellence in filmmaking.
“At the same time, we hope to inspire Malaysian youth by presenting the stories of these internationally successful athletes who still have an effect on our society more than half a century after their professional careers,” he adds.
Ferenc Puskas is a case in point, a kid from the slums who made it big in the world of football.
This is a journey fraught with challenges, both personal and otherwise. His story is captured in the inspiring documentary, Puskas Hungary, which is directed by Tamas Almasi and will be shown at the Hungarian Film Fiesta.
“Puskas is one of the greatest classic heroes in football history. The goal is the most important thing in football and the great goal scorers are the most popular personalities.
“Puskas is the most prolific goal scorer in football history; his record is unbreakable. This is why his legend is still alive everywhere,” says Gyorgy Szollosi, ambassador of Hungarian football tradition and affairs concerning the heritage of Ferenc Puskas.
His biography on Puskas was published in 2005; the documentary Puskas Hungary is based on this.
Puskas’s fall from grace and eventual comeback is one of the most fascinating stories in sporting history, he shares.
“Fifa had suspended him, he was ill, he had no money, could not go back to Hungary, struggled with his weight, and was not young, at 31, but he managed to once again emerge the best player in the world as a key member of Real Madrid.
“He genuinely represents the values of football and of humanity as a whole; a top goal scorer who can continue to be an example to new generations as a world-famous hero of fair play, virtuosity, willpower and redemption,” he stresses.
Closer to home, Kali notes that Malaysians are as passionate about football as their Hungarian counterparts.
“For this reason,” he says, “I believe that introducing the rich tradition and history of Hungarian football to the Malaysian audience will create closer ties between our countries.”
No doubt, the Hungarian national team has been away from the limelight in recent years, its heyday seemingly a thing of the past.
But according to Kali, people continue to look back at the great victories of old times with nostalgia, remembering the football superstars of the 1950s.
“I hope the Malaysian audience will enjoy watching the movies, learn a bit about our country and what the game of football has meant to Hungarians over the last seven decades. The glorious past is there, hopefully it will provide inspiration for future success. We hope that with hard work and a bit of luck, the glory days of Hungarian football will return,” he concludes on a high note.
Movies shown at the Hungarian Film Fiesta
Follow legendary footballer Ferenc Puskas on his journey from the Budapest slums to superstar status.
Barca’s Untold Legends
Challenges and tragedy abound in the tale of Laszlo Kubala, Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor, the famous trio that played in FC Barcelona.
Get your dose of adventure, humour and romance in this story of a gypsy football team and a mysterious millionaire.
6:3 A.K.A Past Plays Itself
Everyone is waiting for the Hungary-England match kick-off with bated breath, when along comes a man who correctly predicts the outcome of the match. Who is he and how does he know so much?