Hey everyone, I hope you had a great week! Personally, it doesn’t totally feel like I’m into the swing of things with my school schedule, but I also understand the importance of reminding myself that things AREN’T normal right now and to allow room for trial and error when managing school and home life (which has, in recent months, become incredibly intertwined with little to no separation).
My de-stresser has always been film and photography whether it’s watching a film and analyzing it with friends or spending countless hours in the darkroom and really concentrating on my work; working with film has always been a meditative process for me, you must constantly remain in the present moment and focus all your energy into the work. This week leaned more towards watching films and spending time researching film production, looking at stills, discussing with friends, etc. which ties in nicely with the research for my honors thesis, an exploration on the influence of the fine arts on cinema. I ended up watching Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the Final Cut in 4K resolution (I would NOT recommend watching any other release; seven different versions exist with the Final Cut being the definitive version released in 2007). At this point, I’d like to say although I offer no plot spoilers, I am including stills from different points throughout the film.
The UHD (ultra high-definition) resolution allows Scott’s world-building to really shine. To tie in some research from my thesis paper, I recently learned of the auteur theory, which, in short is “a way of looking at films that state that the director is the “author” of a film. The Auteur theory argues that a film is a reflection of the director’s artistic vision; so, a movie directed by a given filmmaker will have recognizable, recurring themes and visual queues that inform the audience who the director is” (indiefilmhustle.com). Considering Blade Runner through the context of the auteur theory, some visual trademarks of Scott’s work(s) include the use of fog, crisp cinematography, heavily detailed backgrounds, and bright lights to create a specific visual atmosphere.
Scrolling through film stills, I found the same still (one in color and the other b&w) and I thought it might look interesting to place them side by side. Although they’re the same image, the b&w still makes me think that Blade Runner’s long-lasting success relied on Scott’s choice of saturated colors to create an emotionally-charged atmosphere, I’m not so sure that b&w film could offer the same emotional intensity as color film.
Three of the film’s prominent female Replicants are shown above. I feel as all three stills look as though they belong in a fashion magazine because of the ‘poses’, their costumes, and the use of color (again) especially in the bottom image. The top right image shows the character Rachel, standing in the rain, a trademark of the film…something I loved about the use of rain in Blade Runner: every time it rained in the film, it down-poured. However, not all kinds of rain felt the same, the imagery of Rachel standing defiantly in the rain above didn’t match the imagery of the scene between the characters, Roy and Deckard, below.
And finally, my favorite shot of the film, a scene from Roy’s tears in rain monologue (only 42 words, but perhaps the best writing of the film). This kind of rain offered forgiveness and acceptance of one’s fate; it offered sadness and resolution, it didn’t have the same kind of tenacity shown above with Rachel, but what made this still stand out more to me was the raw, poetic quality of the moment between Roy and Deckard…a very human scene for an 80s sci-fi flick that, at first, faced intense scrutiny and, now, is easily recognized as a significant masterpiece of the 20th century.
Although the writing for Blade Runner isn’t all the way up there for me, the compelling visuals and the believable world-building certainly is. The uniformity in color and the consideration of camera angle and depth, etc. when shooting this film is so incredibly well thought out and so rich…watching this for the first time in 4K invited me into Scott’s heavily industrialized, technicolor dreamscape. When I’m watching a film, something that’s always going through my mind is whether or not I can actually feel the tangibility of an (often foreign) environment that the directors/producers/actors, etc., place in front of me.
Although this film IS a necessary watch, please make sure you also branch out to all kinds of writers/directors/producers/actors of all backgrounds…only watching white American and European films doesn’t cut it, there must be an effort made to understand the stories of others whose existence might not necessarily align with yours. Promote tolerance and learning and compassion in your life and please tell others to do the same when choosing a movie to watch; it’s something I have to hold myself more accountable for, as well, especially when choosing which films to analyze for my honors thesis paper. I hope you have a great rest of your week and please wear your mask and stay safe!