(16 Sep 2019) LEAD IN:
A new Star Wars exhibit has come out of lightspeed in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
It marks 40 years since the first movie took Hungary by storm in 1979, with around half the country’s population catching it in cinemas.
The force is strong with these ones. These cosplayers are greeting visitors to a new Star Wars exhibit in Hungarian capital of Budapest.
It is marking 40 years since the first movie – “A New Hope” – debuted in Hungary, a full two years after its US release.
Like elsewhere, it became an instant hit. According to the exhibit’s organizer, Gergely Toth, around 4.5 million people saw the movie – half the country’s population.
Toth says it took four years to bring the exhibit to Budapest.
“That includes finding the right location and scrutinizing Hungary (by Lucasfilm) based on touristic data, number of visitors – they decide upon all that, how to share their portfolio – but finally, after four years, we are very happy to have this exhibition in Budapest,” he says.
The exhibit contains ten truckloads of Star Wars artefacts, claimed to be Europe’s largest private collection.
Fans can glimpse around 600 items – from Luke’s lightsaber to stormtrooper armour.
“Primarily we came for the kids’ sake,” says visitor Zsuzsa Laky.
“Not entirely true, I’ve come here primarily for myself,” jokes visitor Gusztav Dietz.
The exhibit, called “The Fans Strike Back” is being held in a venue that’s normally home to ruling party Fidesz’s campaign events.
“I’m much happier to see this event here, rather than a (ruling party) Fidesz campaign party,” jokes visitor Jun Miyazaki.
Before “A New Hope” had its first public premiere in Hungary in 1979, the film was first screened for the country’s then communist leaders.
They decided that there was nothing ideologically conflicting about it, so allowed the movie to hit cinemas.
Now Hungary is home to a huge number of Star Wars fans, claims Zoltan Barta, president of the Hungarian Star Wars Club.
“It has a very massive number of fans here and it has always been,” he says.
“At first it was more of a hobby for boys. Girls came later, starting from the ’90s. Our first club events hardly saw any girls, but it is about 50-50 percent by now.”
The force is definitely strong in Hungary.
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