Not a lot of Hungarians can remember when did they not run into Henry Cavill or Will Smith on the street, but Keira Knightley. Her film Colette (2018) was almost completely shot in Budapest, and the city acts wonderfully as Paris at the end of the 19th century.
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley), a young woman from the rural Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye begins an affair with a man called, Willy or Henry Gauthier-Villars (Dominic West). Willy eventually brings Colette to Paris as his bride, with socialites expressing surprise a libertine like him would marry someone like her. Willy refers to himself as a „literary entrepreneur”, employing a ton of ghostwriters for his articles. However, he realizes that the limited output does not bring in the revenue that would cover his expenses, due to his expensive lifestyle of entertaining socialites. He commissions one ghostwriter to work on a novel while Colette manages his correspondence. But, one day, Colette finds Willy with a prostitute, which leads to the separation of the couple.
Except for some cutscenes, the majority of the movie was filmed in Budapest. They used Andrássy Avenue and its surroundings. The old Navy HQ in Zoltán Street, and many-many street scenes. The creators of the movie considered Andrássy Avenue as the Champs-Elyseés of Hungary. The production designer of the movie praised the spectacular locations of the city. His favorite turned out to be The Express Building in the 5th district. Also, he was in awe about Andrássy Ave., and the sound stages of Origo Studios.
A Hungarian, who can wait for the credits at the end of the movie will be proud. The roll of Hungarian names in the credits shows a considerable contribution from the Hungarian crew. Actors, Máté Haumann, Virág Bárány, Attila Árpa have some more relevant roles in the movie. Haumann plays as Count Muffat, who has a conversation with the two main characters. Virág’s character is Lotte Kinceler. As always, Attila Árpa cannot be left out from a foreign movie shot in Hungary. In this movie, he plays as a heckler and ex-husband of Colette’s transgender lover, Missy (Denise Gough). He is the one who shouts at Colette and Missy, while they are on the stage, causing them an uncomfortable moment.
Colette was highly praised everywhere. It was popular with audiences and was nominated for multiple awards. It had 4 nominations at the British Independence Awards and won the award for Best Original Score – Independent Film at the HMMA’s. Moreover, it showed again that Budapest is one of the most versatile places in filming, no matter what era, or location it is called for.