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Ok, I was watching Kontroll last night and thought it was very violent and was kind of wondering if that level of ... depravity ... actually exists in Hungary...  Maybe I'm just seeing all the wrong sides of your wonderful country, but gosh.  Kinda scary.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 at 01:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The film actually goes to efforts to place the story into a nameless Central European city, not Budapest. Of course everything is greatly exaggerated or not true of Budapest's subway at all.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 at 02:56:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To give you spcifics on the last: there was no case of push-before-trains murder in Budapest, nor time or room for such a crazy running competition, train drivers are actually a rather disciplined bunch (kind of an elite) who would certainly not drink and don't decorate their driving rooms, the controllers are despised and disrespected but aren't unkept, insane and chanceless (not to mention running amok), there is no labirynth-like network with lots of place to hide, only three radial lines and some hidden nuclear bunkers. Then again, you'd find enough examples of poverty, desolation and depravity elsewhere.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 at 03:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I didn't imagine the events were real.  It just seemed like a very dark world.  Since it is in a country I know nothing about, I couldn't gage exactly how far removed from reality is was.  Let's just say I've seen a lot of bloodied Hungarian faces in the last 24 hours.  And a lack of basic law and order.

Is it normal to have ticket-checkers?  Why not just use turnstiles?  I thought the whole idea of people coming & asking for your tickets was odd.  Though we do have them on regular (non-subway) trains.  But they are exceedingly polite.  And everyone always has a ticket.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 at 03:20:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It just seemed like a very dark world.

That was the director's concept :-) The subway as inferno. (As such it wasn't even that original -- maybe you saw Luc Besson's.)

Since it is in a country I know nothing about

I'm curious: why did you (like most foreigners) believe that the film plays in a real country? Was it the Budapest Traffic Company's ridicuous intro [was it in your DVD version BTW?]?

Let's just say I've seen a lot of bloodied Hungarian faces in the last 24 hours.

Heh, then my photo choices are as distorting as he MSM :-) On my photos, you see a single bloodied face, and reports are of less than a dozen similarly serious injuries. The lack of basic law and order is cordoned off along two main roads and involved no more than a few thousand at any moment (not hundreds of thousands like in 1956) -- worse than a month ago, but still not beyond the scale of a big football riot.

Is it normal to have ticket-checkers?  Why not just use turnstiles?

I don't know why no turnstiles were installed originally, but I'm certain that they would severely limit capacity at rush hour. However, the ticket-checkers in real-life Budapest aren't specialised for the subway, and also control trams, trolleys and buses, where turnstyles would be a rather expensive solution. Also, in recent years, controls in the subway are conducted by groups of 6-10 controllers at the entrances, simultaneously at multiple stations -- when this was introduced, ticket purchases jumped by double figure percents.

Though we do have them on regular (non-subway) trains.

Controllers (who check tickets validated by passengers themselves with some machine) or conductors (who validate tickets)? The two are a different caste... The difference is not in politeness, but in the attitude of passengers without ticket towards them. (In a small part justified: some controllers, being paid for the number of culprits caught, try to catch regular month-card buyers who forgot to buy next month's in time.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 at 03:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Budapest Traffic Company's ridicuous intro

I mean, the Traffic Company boss's intro.

also control trams, trolleys and buses

Thinking of American urban buses I see on TV or in movies, I shal add: the buses here have frequent stops and carry lots of passengers, thus entry across a single door with the driver playing conductor is impossible. But you may know that from Moscow. (BTW, no ticket controllers on the Moscow metro?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 at 03:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1.  I got the idea the film was set in Budapest because of the intro (which I could not tell if it was supposed to be serious or ironic, but was very funny).  I don't think I'm all that far out of line thinking a film shot in the Budapest subway and in Hungarian is supposed to be about the subway in Budapest!

  2.  Trying to remember Moscow.  Mostly I think they just used turnstiles or you flashed your pass at the person at the entrance (some kind of rush hour "express lane").  Once past the entrance, no one asked for your pass.  Because you cannot get on without a pass or paying the fare.  Same with busses I think.  You paid a fare or flashed your passes when you got on, and that was it.  Of course, standing in line for a bus you might be asked for your "papers." But that's another story...

  3.  Conductors, I guess.  They are on the suburban and Amtrak trains.  They are very professional.  There is this old-timey service ethic they have going on.  It basically just charms people into submission.  If you don't have your ticket displayed on the suburban trains, they make you buy one.  And everyone is generally very well behaved and accomodating.  On Amtrak, you cannot board without a ticket.

  4.  You do realize one bloody face at a protest is still more than anything I've ever seen in my lifetime.  It might be sensational to post that picture, but the fact that anyone did get a bloody face protesting is pretty shocking to me, where I just don't see that type of thing.  


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 at 04:12:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. That speech was meant to be serious (the traffic company head insisted on it before consenting to the filming), but its effect was rather comical :-) For your information, for the film, all station signs and recognisable symbols were removed, fake ones installed, and a fake line map and fake line names were shown/talked about.

  2. So there were at least persons at the entrance, doing exactly what our controllers do now. But the buses, that surprises me (especially as we have Soviet-built trolleys here and Moscow has Hungarian-built Ikarus buses). Do I get this right, could people enter only via a single door? That was once tried here, even then only for traffic past 21h and non-articulated buses, still it failed as passengers got angry at standing in line to board and at the resulting reduced average travel speed.

  3. Train conductors are respected here too, and both conductors and controllers are generally well-behaving (they are trained to be). But bus/tram/metro passengers without ticket are generally a**holes with a sense of entitlement who often refuse to pay when caught. As the job is low-wage and usually taken by those desperate for a job, who are not people with an air of authority, they find it difficult to counter such disrespect (this is a real thing that the film hyper-magnified).

  4. OK. I actually didn't realise :-) I must be jaded. I mean, I am still outraged at police (and protester) brutality, but not shocked.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 24th, 2006 at 04:22:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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