The Man Who Build Shanghai / Sanghaj Magyar Építésze
2010, 26 min., SD
English and Hungarian versions
Director: Réka Pigniczky
Producer: Barnabás Gerő
Camera: Gergő Kiss
Editor: László Hargittai
Sound Editor: Csaba Major
Archive Coordinator: Virág Csejdy
Premiered at the Shanghai World Expo, Hungarian Exhibit, 2010
In 2008 new archive materials – including original letters, photos and 16mm film – surfaced from his descendants in Hungary and the U.S. These archives paint a complex and thinking man living at the crossroads between Europe and China. The new archive materials reveal the man behind the architect that even his children barely knew.
Through their testimony, through his incredible film footage, and through our research of his footsteps, his story gives an extraordinary inside look at the first rush of Europeans to China, of its first modernization (skyscrapers!), and of the turmoil of the 20th century. A perspective all the more fascinating that, today, once again, China looks like the new El Dorado.
The Man Who Build Shanghai is not just a story about an interesting and famous architect whose eye-catching Modernist and Art Deco buildings still reign over today’s Shanghai skyline. His story is also worth telling because it illustrates all the major political-historical and design-architectural events of the 20th century. His emblematic life story opens a window onto the previous century’s dramatic events – and through real-life, yet right out of Hollywood style scenes. From narrow escapes to creative success to wartime bravery (twice) to religious introspection, this film about L.E. Hudec will be about a man who was a multi-faceted artist and an inspiringly humble and principled human being. A life that gives rare insight into some of most fascinating times of the past century.