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Kino Korner August 19, 2004
Nochnoy Dozor Is Not Pozor
By Mark Ames Browse author Email

Nochnoi Dozor

Wow! Did you see what I saw? I can't believe my eyes, folks! When I went to the Western-standard multiplex at the Atrium, a Western-standard shopping mall, I was sure that Nochnoi Dozor was a mega-budget Hollywood production with an excellent voice-over translation. But as it turns out, I was wrong.

Look out Hollywood, because Russian cinema has arrived at last! For years now, the ailing Russian movie industry has been struggling to survive against the onslaught of Hollywood productions, no matter how crude or low-quality they were. Russian moviemakers often tried and failed to imitate their Hollywood counterparts, with obvious disastrous results. But now, those days are over. The ever-ingenious Russians have found a way to make a blockbuster F/X flick on a strict Putin-era budget...and the thing is, IT WORKS!

I was gripping the edge of my seat, wondering what surprises might hit me next as I sat through Nochnoi Dozor. Bats! Vampires! Armies! The whole digital anime display done a million times better than the multi-million Hollywood best! In part this is thanks to Russian ingenuity, as I said. But now we can add to that the intangibilities of Russian cinema -- namely, the Russian soul. And oh boy does Nochnoi Dozor have a heapin' helpin' of the enigmatic Russian soul! This ain't no rip-off, folks. Nuh-uh. The ripping is going to go off the other way around, because Hollywood is salivating over the originality and depth of Nochnoi Dozor as compared to its own unsatisfying blockbuster action movies.

What I and my friends enjoyed so much in Nochnoi Dozor is that for once, a great Russian movie is made which is not depressing or bringing dirt and mud on the face of Russia. Movies like Brat, Bimmer and The Thief, while perhaps artistically sound, nonetheless are designed to be depressing and to give the image of Russia as a grim and savage country. We know of course that this is not the whole story, in fact it isn't true at all, really. Nochnoi Dozor, on the other hand, shows the Russian imagination and technology in its true light, able to compete and stand side-by-side. For it would be no exaggeration to say that Nochnoi Dozor is "no worse than a Hollywood movie"!

According to my highly-placed sources, Hollywood is so terrified by the success of Nochnoi Dozor that it is preparing a massive anti-Russian PR campaign to contain this menace. It is worried first of all of losing the Russian market to Russian-produced films that equal or exceed Hollywood production quality at a fraction of the price. The Russian market is said to be the most important international market for Hollywood, and they will stop at nothing to see to it that Russia cannot make more movies of this quality. It is said that wreckers and saboteurs are already infiltrating the local studios and industry, and that the MPAA is preparing to enforce sanctions against Russia to strangle her and bring her to her knees. At the same time, Nochnoi Dozor is being denied its rightful place in American multiplexes. A conspiracy of Hollywood moguls, led, according to sources, by a clique of Gusinskyites and rootless cosmopolitans, has threatened the multiplex chain theaters with retaliation if they allow Nochnoi Dozor into the theaters.

We, the consumers of quality entertainment movies, must not allow this to succeed in Russia. For if, like me, you are tired of shallow, soulless Hollywood movies, then you must support Russian film and see Nochnoi Dozor. The Gusinskyites may still exert influence abroad, but here in Russia, thanks to President Putin, we are safe from their opportunism.

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