Monday, April 14, 2008

The Voodoo Queen on BLADE RUNNER

My wife, Voodoo Queen Jane, recently attended a revival of the 1982 movie Bladerunner. Below are her thoughts on the event and the film itself.

The Pittsburgh Film Makers media arts center has given me hope. Maybe it’s because we are here in Zombie Town, or maybe it’s something in the water; but the organization regularly shows horror and sci-fi classics! Other theaters seem to follow suit.

I’ve gone to some screenings in town of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(1920), The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Tingler, and, through PFM, a really fun double feature of Frankenstein and
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. [At the Byham Theater; interior seen right-- click to enlarge. Max]

I attended a PFM screening of Blade Runner recently. I’ve seen Blade Runner probably a dozen times, in all of its incarnations. I went with a friend who has never seen the film, which is like going to Disneyworld with someone who has never been there. You get to experience the thrill of a first viewing of a truly great film vicariously.

This time it was the “final cut”. My companion, a twenty-something friend, was not old enough to have seen the original in the theater, with the Sam Spade-like narration, so I had to fill her in on the different versions. The narration was absent in this release, which is to the relief of most film fans. Although not mine-- I always thought it added to the noirish quality of the film.

This screening came with an introduction, by one of the Filmmakers members who loves the film as much as I do. His main admonition to us was to “pay attention to the light.”


The lights went down.

So this will be about light, and often the lack of it, in this case. It’s supposed to be Los Angeles, but there is never any sun.

The interiors are dark as well, the brightest scene in the film is in Tyrell’s place, with the setting sun.

I remember that when I first saw the film, I was dumbstruck by how this future seemed so plausible. It wasn’t the shiny, streamlined future that as a Baby Boomer I grew up with. It was grungy and diverse and hard. I have often felt I would like to spend some time in this dark, neon lit, rainy world.

There was a discussion after the film. Most of us talked at length about the darkness, the constant rain.

We also discussed the plight of the replicants, and I got to speak of the parallels with Frankenstein. One of my favorite scenes is when Roy confronts Dr. Tyrell. He gets to confront his creator, which is a rare thing indeed, as the Monster did with Victor Frankenstein.

And the result is much the same, rage and destruction. But then that is a spoiler I will not divulge, for those like my friend who have not seen the movie.

It was really a joy to share that thought with other fans, and find that a few of them really appreciated the insight.

There are so many things to say about the film, things to love about it. The music, the realistically dingy and diverse sets, the retro clothing styles.

The music is by Vangelis, and it has aged well. It’s very electronic, but not dated. It has an atmospheric international "techno" quality that I love.

My love for the costume work and art direction of this film is deep. The sets, the props, and in particular the clothing with it’s throwbacks to the 40's, but with some very modern fabrics, just fits the neo-noir attitude of the characters so well.

All in all, it was a fantastic opportunity to see a true classic, in my opinion.


Allen's Brain said...

Re: grungy future.
I think we have P.K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which Bladerunner was based on) to thank for the grimy vision of the future. He pretty much pioneered it. Previous to Dick, SciFi's vision of the future was all shiny surfaces and gleaming lights and uber-clean, super-efficient cities.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."

Anonymous said...

>Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)<

What did The Divine Miss J think of that one?

>This time it was the “final cut”<

Which one?

-Craig W.

Max the drunken severed head said...

Hey Brain-- I would say that I love Dick, but you'd snicker.

Wich2-- The one released to the theater!

Allen's Brain said...

I snickered, but, me too.

cindy said...

i loved blade runner, and it is still one of my favorites. i like the narration version best as well. i got to see it again i nt he theatre with my hubby who had never seen it, and is not a big sci-fi fan, but he did like it.


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