February 2020
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Nochnoi Dozor / Night Watch

So what did I do while I was in the cultural Mecca that is New York City?

I went to the movies.

Actually I only saw one movie, “Night Watch.” “Night Watch,” or “Ночной Дозор,” as it is known in its native Russian (which becomes “Nochnoi Dozor” when translated for sound imitation), is a Russian Vampire blockbuster hit, hauling in millions of rubbles (and dollars) in Russia and around the world.

From my position in Europe, I know that the film has slowly worked its way across the continent and has not, until just recently, made the leap across the Atlantic Ocean to the States—and is, in fact, not yet that widely distributed in the States. Whilst I was in New York City the film expanded from one screen to five, for the entire city.

I first encountered this movie last year while I was in Rotterdam—I had heard of the movie before hand, so when I saw the preview before watching a really bad movie in the cinema, I was excited. The trailer for this Russian film was completely and totally in English. Unfortunately the trailer was misleading: the film was shown in the Netherlands in Russian with Dutch subtitles, in spite of the preview: I inquired at the box office.

After that the film dropped off my radar—it wasn’t until I arrived in New York City and I was flipping through Time Out New York (sucks in comparison to it’s London equivalent) and the Village Voice (gosh, what a great alternative newspaper) that I realized that Night Watch was just released in the United States, and, in fact, was playing in a theater near my hotel.

I could go on and talk about the movie, but I realize that for most of you reading this, the film has probably not arrived in town, so I will summarize my opinion of it with the following: See It.

This vampire flick had, as far as I was concerned, a surprise ending that made the story that much more compelling, and, unusually, some of the best subtitles I’ve ever seen in a foreign language film. Never before I have seen subtitles as engaging and dynamic as the ones in this movie—so much so that I felt that they added to the movie as opposed to being there just to help the non-Russian speakers in the audience. (Interestingly, some of the American reviews I’ve read of the movie specifically detest the film’s subtitles; I’ve also read that the subtitles in other languages are not nearly as good as the ones in (American) English.)

The best part is that this is the first in a trilogy. There is more to come: Day Watch has reportedly already been released in Russia and has started the same global distribution as the first film.

I’m looking forward to seeing it.

On a related note: Seeing this movie reminded me about another Vampire Movie that I once saw. I cannot remember that much about the movie now, but I think it was set in Transilvania. The film must have been shown at least 10, maybe 15, years ago. It was a made for TV movie on (I’m 99% sure) the Fox Television Network. Does anybody have any clue what the title of this movie was? Am I imagining things? I would like to see it again, if I can.

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