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Tuesday, 10 June 2008


I am not by no means an expert in Russian cinema. I have hardly watched any Russian movies. But Nightwatch changed all that.

A year ago, Manos, my younger brother and a fanatic cinema goer - a cinefil kind of person - suggested we went to watch NightWatch. (Original title: Nochnoy dozor). It was the first of a trilogy of the Russian version of Blade. Not exactly a thriller. The movie is about the eternal battle of good and evil. The two troupes of good and evil met - in a medieval setting - and fought. Just before everyone was perished, the two leaders decided to hold a truce. Good and Evil would live side by side as people would be free to choose anyside they wanted. No force would be allowed to ask people to choose sides. To make sure that the truce was kept, the Light Others and the Dark Others would police the truce. Light Others would perform the NightWatch making sure that Dark Others would not kill people or turn them to the dark side. Dark Others would constitute the Day Watch making sure that the same is true for the Light Others.

The forces of Dark and Light are now in equilibrium due to the work done by the Night and Day watch officers. One day, legend has it, a great other will come and the balance will turn for ever toward one side. Wise man believe that it will be easier for the Great Other to turn to the dark side as it is harder to see in the darkness than kill the light inside that we all have.

A science fiction movie at its best. The cinematography is great, as almost every scene of the movie is like an art photography. Nightwatch is much faster, groovier, and shocking than its sequel DayWatch. Looking forward to the third sequel, the Twilight watch. (Manos, did not like the movie ,needless to say)

Best watched one after the other. I had seen both movies once released in Greek theaters, but when I watched both of them one after another in my home cinema the script made more sense. The first time around I was captivated by the action scenes, photography, music and Russian bohemian chic.

It is definitely one of my favorite titles, and keep in mind that I don't like vampire or horror movies (except Blade). The scenes are too fast to be scary.
Also, I had not realized what a fantastic sound the Russian language makes

A few wikipedia facts:

Night Watch (Russian: Ночной дозор, Nochnoy Dozor) is a 2004 Russian fantasy action thriller film by the Kazakhstan-born film director Timur Bekmambetov. It is loosely based on The Night Watch, and is the first part of a trilogy, followed by Day Watch and ending with the 2009 release of Twilight Watch as confirmed by IMDB[1].
The film was the first big-budget Russian fantasy film and one of the first blockbusters made after the collapse of the Soviet film industry. The film was produced by Channel One, the government-owned TV channel, with a budget of US$4.2 million.[2] It was shot in an 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
Part of the challenge for such a big-budget fantasy film was creating hundreds of visual effects (VFX) shots to which a modern audience is accustomed. 16 Russian VFX studios and several freelancers were used, each chosen for their individual strengths. Many shots were created by different artists across different time zones, using the Internet to share data and images, mostly using Windows NT workstations.[3]
After a first appearance at the Moscow Film Festival on June 27, 2004, it went on general cinema release across the CIS on July 8, 2004. The film was extremely successful, becoming the highest-grossing Russian release ever, grossing US$16.7 million in Russia alone, thus making more money in Russia than The Lord of the Rings. The sequel, Day Watch, was released across the CIS on January 1, 2006, with a third film in the works. There is also a TV series in production.
The film attracted the attention of Fox Searchlight Pictures, which paid $4 million to acquire the worldwide distribution rights (excluding Russia and the Baltic states) of Night Watch and its sequel Day Watch.
Fox Searchlight also offered to finance the third part. As a consequence, the third part will be filmed in the United States, likely with other actors speaking English instead of Russian


george g. said...

Very good posting. Descriptive, to the point with the necessary emotional strip tease. I am sure you realise that good blogging is like going to the phsycoanalyst or in your case Irvin Yalom. In 4 days of blogging we know that you have a brother Manos, a pug you adore, you are weight conscious, you go bannanas with SJP, you are passionate (Dolores) about style, art, photography, you are in mid life crisis, you watch Nova, DVD's you support RSPCA, you speak French, you read "heavy" books, watch Russian movies (as of late), you still have friends from high school etc. absolutely amazing this blogging business. Keep it up.

Zeta said...

Indeed!!! It is like psychonalysis. A bit. Still not comfortable sharing soul searching stuff, but for everything else, it is great.
I do enjoy it a lot. Thanks for introducing me to that world

Zeta said...

BTW, I do go to a psychoanalyst as well. I wouldnt be telling her about Nightwatch or SJP, but keep her updated with the rest :-)

george g. said...

For a Greek, well sort of, to admit publicly that she goes to a psychonalyst is a first. Fantastic! And great kudos to your doctor. So in addition we learned that you are very straight kind of person with high integrity. Very very rare qualities in Elladitsa

Zeta said...

You make me blush :-)
After all, I am European ;-)

george g. said...

Obviously, you know that if one takes a few measurements on the above the sea level part of an iceberg he can accurately predict the part that is under water, which of course, is many times bigger. SO, on the 15th blogging day, all is going to be revealed even the stuff that your good doctor doesn't know :-)

Zeta said...

The point is to reveal the stuff that I don't know or can not see. My analyst probably already does

george g. said...

The SJP is an important element of the puzzle, or an important iceberg measurement and you are withholding this important piece of evedence from the good doctor? Shame on you :-) All is going to be revealed on the 15th day of blogging even the stuff the good doctor doesn't know

Zeta said...

Why the 15th? Is that an important day in blogging protocol?

george g. said...

Noooooo! It's just to prolong the agony. Your case has already been solved!

Pugs are the superior creatures in any planet

Don't you wish you were hot like Frankie (the Pug)???
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Pugs talk!