Sunday, February 19, 2006

Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor)

I was drooling to take a bite out of the first installment of Russian director Timur Bekmambetov's Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) Trilogy when it premiered in Paris this last September; but, I didn't think it would be respectful to Sergei Lukyanenko's writing to collapse Russian into French into English. Leave Babel alone, I told myself, and be patient, wait, wait, all good things come to those who wait. Though in the case of Night Watch, all good things come as well as the bad.

Here is the official website with synopsis, trailer and—for those of you who just don't have the time—the entire movie in two and a half minutes, which (I might add) is unusually enjoyable after you've seen the film:

Subtitles—once tethered to translation—have been emancipated!!! Timur Bekmambetov has raised the bar and now asks subtitles to evoke as much as they translate. In Night Watch, subtitles vanish into blood-red smoke, duck in and out from behind walls, and even grow visibly larger when someone shouts. As fresh as all this is in Night Watch, it seductively invites imitation and Bekmambetov will be fortunate, indeed, to be as innovative by the final installment of this trilogy as he has been with its first. I anticipate a rash of rip-offs that will drain all life out of the original veins.

Thoroughly entertaining with a minimum of gore, the concepts in Night Watch provoke fear. Creepy concepts about gloom and doom. And, sure, there are some inexcusable gaps in script continuity (how can the lights come back on when the light company has been blown up?), but all in all, Night Watch is a fascinating take on vampiric lore with subtle, political commentary on the right of good to license evil. Most folks have already marked their calendars and will be lining up to catch the 06/06/06 remake of The Omen; but, Night Watch is the tale with a fresher twist.


Edmund Yeo said...

Yeap, as confused as I was with Night Watch's plot (and some fighting scenes... like the last one). I AM looking forward to the sequel. Ah, the things cliffhanger endings can do to you.

Michael Guillen said...

And it sounds like you won't have to wait too much longer either, at least here in the U.S. Apparently the delay in releasing the film in the U.S. means "Day Watch" is close behind, possibly to be distributed later this year. That would be cool.

Thanks for stopping by Ed. I'm a great fan of Malaysian film and hope to put up a post on that in the near future. Also look forward to checking out your website.

Edmund Yeo said...

Thanks for stopping by at my place too. Whoa, fan of Malaysian films? Haha, there really aren't there many around that's being circulated internationally until recently. Ours is a relatively young industry (indie digital filmmaking started on 2001-2002, while studio films that came out before that were kept within the country, and was more for the native Malay society than us Malaysian Chinese. Gah!

Michael Guillen said...

I probably wouldn't have known anything about Malaysian film if it hadn't been for a spotlight showcase at last year's SF International Film Festival. It allowed me the opportunity to view a handful of films and to meet several young Malaysian directors, including Amir Muhammed. You're inspiring me to post about that. I'll try to work on that today.