Gabriella Hámori • Actress
Shooting Star 2006 - Hungary
by Thierry Hugot
A graduate of the Budapest Academy of Theatre and Film in 2001, Gabriella Hamori received public acclaim from the Hungarian public in 2004, with the commercial success of the film Stop Mom Theresa. Before this she had starred in several other feature films with young film directors - Ferenc Török, Agnes Incze – or with well-known actors of Hungarian cinema, such as Péter Gothar. She performs full-time in theatre as a member of the Örkény Theatre troupe in Budapest.
Cineuropa: In a previous interview, you said that it is "dangerous and bold to switch from a "film d'auteur" to a "commercial film". Why?
Gabriella Hamori: In Hungary, being successful thanks to a commercial film often excludes playing in "arty films". In Hungary, the two genres are quite separate. I'm not sure that this is a European characteristic. There are exceptions of course. I am only at the very beginning of my career or, to tell the truth, I haven't even started, and I am very curious about what the future holds for me! I would really like to be an actress who can find her place in very different genres.
The Hungarian public knows you for your main role in Péter Bergendy's film Stop Mom Theresa!, a comedy of the "young singles generation", which was a big hit in Hungary. Yet at the time you defined yourself as "aristocratic". Why?
I did so, because I quite simply refused a certain number of roles. Even if all actors are looking for quality, sometimes these projects fall into your lap. It's important to know your limits and respect them. All actors are confronted with this problem. Personally, I participated in many other projects since this film, and I didn't stay stuck in this role, even if there were clearly many moviegoers who identified me with this film.
Is there a relation between your different roles in cinema and a type of role that you more readily accept?
It's quite ambivalent. In the theatre, I play extremely different roles. I don't know why that is, but in current Hungarian cinema there is almost no really complex female role, even if it is a main role. From the outset, the challenge for me was to learn to perform for cinema, to "direct". But I have yet to come across roles that I could have in theatre, for which I have to exceed my limits. I can't really say that I have made a conscious decision about my roles in cinema, as all of them have happened by chance. What happened to me in theatre has yet to happen in cinema so that I can truly call myself a big screen actress. For the time being, all I am doing is feeling my way, and even if I do feel many things instinctively, I still have a lot to learn.
Is theatre therefore essential for you?
In Hungary, all actors perform in theatre (where the system is always that of permanent troupes, NDLR). Hundreds of theatre sketches are put on scene each year here, which is incomparable to the number of films. The actors really only give up their theatre role, if the cinema role is really remarkable or is a real challenge. I also feel so at home in theatre!
What do you expect from your trip to Berlin?
It's very interesting to go to Berlin at this very stage in my career. I feel that I have got nearer to the seventh art, but I am not yet quite a cinema actress. I'm getting there! My stay in Berlin will be a very short one because I am playing in the theatre. I don't want to exaggerate the importance of this and I take it as a prestigious event where I certainly will feel very happy, as I am open to everything that can happen. But I don't want to regard it as an enormous opportunity and make too much a deal of it.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.