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For centuries, undercover members of the Night Watch have policed the world's Dark Ones—the vampires, witches, shape-shifters and sorcerers that wage treachery in the night—while the Dark Ones have a Day Watch to police the forces of Light. The fate of humanity rests in this delicate balance between good and evil, but that fate is in jeopardy…. Reminiscent of Blade and Underworld and set in contemporary Moscow, this horror-fantasy is the biggest grossing film in post-Soviet history and the first of a trilogy based on the best-selling sci-fi novels of Sergei Lukyanenko. Directed and co-written by Timur Bekmambetov. 
 

 Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor)

So you think you know everything about Moscow, huh?!…

No? Oh, okay. Anything at all? Kremlin, vodka, and that weird guy with the funny accent in that action flick? Well, I gotta tell you, that isn’t much. Never mind though. You will be all the more flabbergasted by the kind of Moscow, the real one, that my new film Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) is about. Because you’ll never discover this Moscow on a one-week organized tour with a bubbly guide, museums, and matreshkas for souvenirs. No sir. You have to go into the dark alleys for that one. You have to turn over sewer hatches, and get on the night bus—without a ticket, mind you! Intrigued yet? Well, here’s a little taste of Moscow for you.

(Click on the thumbnail to see bigger picture)

INHABITANTS

Alice. A member of the trendy Russian pop girl-band “The Shiny Ones.” Drives a red Mazda and is prone to speeding. Right-hand woman to Zavulon, the leader of Moscow’s Dark Others.

 

Anton Gorodetskiy. Computer programmer, proficient in Fortran, Pascal, Java, Delphi and Python. Has a history of alcohol abuse. Lives alone. Habitually falls asleep to Animal Planet programs. Lately received his first field assignment: to track a stray vampire.

 

Kostya. Butcher’s son. Student in biology. While applying to college, fell short in GPA points, but got in thanks to his father’s connections (father regularly supplies the dean with fresh pork chops). Hobbies: soccer, hip hop music. Half-breed: his mother was human.

 

Svetlana. General Doctor at Clinic no.17. Salary: $200. Lives in a one-bedroom with her mother, and spends most of her free time taking care of her. Personal life all but non-existent. Lonely. Unaware of her great magical potential.

 

Darya. Retired. Has trouble sleeping at night and suffers from a weak bladder. Excellent cook, but this is not how she makes a living. In the turbulent ‘90s, when people had tired of the grim reality and turned to the occult for answers, 15,000 licenses were issued in Moscow alone to fortune-tellers, charmers and healers. More often than not, the real witches failed to obtain a license.

 

Simeon. Has hearing damage from a war injury. Prefers to roll his own cigarettes. Has never been reported to lose his temper. The best driver west of the Ural mountain ridge. One of the few remaining Light Others to have been present at the Forging of the Truce.

 

Yegor. Brought up by his mother, a busy TV announcer, who often works late. Has few friends at school, enjoys arcanoid video games, and frequently stays home alone. Takes swimming classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. May play a crucial part in the ongoing war between Light and Darkness.

 

LOCATIONS

Vatutinki. Neighborhood far removed from the center of Moscow. Located on the border of two districts. Street lighting insufficient. If you live in Vatutinki, you may have to walk across a cemetery to get home from the bus stop.

 

“Rizhskiy” market. Plans to demolish this old market have been in the air for the last ten years. It’s finally been sentenced, and now is but a “dead man walking.” In the late ‘80s it was the first outlet to the hip and colorful things that embodied the West for the Muscovites: jeans, bubble-gum, music audio tapes and make-up kits. It is rumored that many of these products seemed to have appeared out of thin air: you couldn’t track them back to any factory or customs in the world. Light Others try to avoid the market when they can.

 

The Third Circle Road. Moscow’s main roads are concentric rings. There is the relatively-quiet Boulevard Ring, the usually-congested Garden Ring, the underground Circle Line, and the Moscow Circle Highway, separating the city from its outer regions. The Third Circle Road, 23 miles long, now nears its completion after having been conceived in 1935. A two-mile section of the road runs 135 feet deep underground. Drivers report seeing, on more than one occasion, a young woman with disheveled hair, aimlessly wandering in the tunnels, the cause of many accidents. They believe this has something to do with the tragic death of a female road-construction worker 12 years ago.

 

Moscow metro: a complex underground system with 12 lines and over 160 platforms. While most subways in the world are designed to be simple and efficient, Moscow metro stations resemble ostentatious gothic- or baroque-looking marble palaces with columns and adornments. One of the secret tunnels, many of which were built by convicts and war prisoners, allegedly led directly to Stalin’s bunker in the Kremlin. In fact, by now few people know for sure where every single tunnel goes, and whether it goes anywhere. 12% of people’s nightmares have to do with the metro.

 

ITEMS

Mashen’ka. The Barbie doll of the Soviet ‘70s. Made of rubber, and makes a whistling sound through the hole at the bottom, if squeezed. 30 years ago every little girl had one. But few ever wondered whether someone or some thing may dwell inside of these hollow toys.

 

The “ZIL” truck. You can often see these yellow trucks with a red stripe in the streets of Moscow. Everyone knows they are an emergency service of one type or another. But rarely do you see one actually perform such service. Another mystery: while these old trucks break frequently, and generally only go about 20 mph tops, with proper maintenance and an experienced driver they can accelerate to 90 mph in 11 seconds.

 

Elevators in many old apartment buildings in Moscow have a mind of their own. They don’t close or open automatically. You have to pull a heavy iron door shut, and then push the inner wooden folding door to a close. The shaft is usually exposed, with the staircase going up and around it, separated from it only by the steel net. The elevator in motion screeches and groans terribly. Sometimes it elects to stop a foot or two below the level of your floor, making the step out a daunting experience. Maniac killers often choose elevators to wait for victims in, and hitmen sometimes attack from behind the shaft.

Now that you’ve browsed the travel booklet, it’s time to get a ticket and go on a wild ride. By the way, the weird guy with the funny accent in that action flick was probably American. Canadian, at best.