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NA TEJ STRANI BOSTE NAŠLI:

-Interpretacije filma Bladerunner

-Nekaj slik iz filma Blade runner


ESEJ 1 - BLADERUNNER


A personal essay on 'BLADE RUNNER - The Director's Cut'

A Ridley Scott film based on the novel by Philip K Dick 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'

This film, I believe, deserves a higher status than that of cult, and is much more than just an acceptable homage to Philip K Dick, author of many original science-fiction novels, often laced with philosophical perspectives on the human condition. The film is multi-layered; thrilling and unsettling, part dark science fiction and detective film noir, realistic and dream-like, intelligent, mature, artistic and powerful. Purely on the surface, it has a visual richness which is wonderfully atmospheric (enhanced by the soundtrack of Vangelis), drawing one into a vision of the future which is not only a sprawling, technological metropolis, but an empty, soulless place. It is a film, which not only incorporates the strong themes presented by Dick but also adds its own mood, more aloof and tragic, which includes through its characters a sense of life's quiet desperation. They are withdrawn almost, living in a mellow dream which when disrupted, is painful and struggling. The characters seem random, everyday people of the city, but through the story are united by a will to survive because there is nothing else, nothing but fear. Death to the replicants is represented by their own mortality and the outside embodiment of the Blade Runners; stalkers such as Deckard.
Throughout the film, life and death are displayed in ways that illuminate their surrealness; life in the case of a radically imposing world - large, expansive, beautifully decadent, grown strange even to the hero Deckard - and death, especially in the example of Zorra's death sequence, as a sprawling, slow-motion operatic and disjointed event. Survival is a weary task amongst such decadence, but it is a prominent theme; the replicants are not human yet they want life, Deckard scrambles extensively on the rooftops and at one classic point, is moments from certain death. The film itself is called 'Blade Runner' suggestive of the confrontation with danger that hunting replicants for a living invites. 'Quite a thing to live in fear isn't it?' Towards the climax the film attempts to bring the viewers as close to the ledge of death as possible. '4,5 - how to stay alive' shouts Batty chasing Deckard with a nail plunged through his hand, an attempt to retain his failing sense of sensation by an infliction of harsh pain. This is all artistic nerve touching, and with the roles reversed to Deckard as the prey, the viewer senses the hopelessness of Deckard's situation.
This highlights another interesting factor which distinguishes Blade Runner from being a conventional sci-fi thriller to a surprisingly relevant and resonant work; the mix of the traditional with the untraditional. We have the typical cop hero in the character Deckard, found in a downtown bar at the beginning, wanted for an assignment by the chief. There is the usual love interest in Rachel, the main villain Batty and his boys heading for a showdown, a few minor characters of interest and behind it, the clever scientist whose plans backfire. Before long however, all is out of joint; the baddies are not evil, but confused creatures of Frankenstein seeking like us all, extended life and answers for the pain and suffering caused by grief and heightened doses of emotion. Rachel, one of them also, complicates Deckard's task and in general there is a sense of confusion, horror in Zorra's realistic death scene and complexity in man's modern creations and lack of control. Technology, it seems has surpassed our ability to control and relate to it. This futuristic city is forlorn, lonely and lost. The characters are world-weary; they have seen and done it all, and are none the wiser. Instead of a great showdown with the enemy where the viewer witnesses good triumph over evil, we have a prolonged, desperate fight. Our hero is disarmed, forced to flee and is saved by the enemy who is dying anyway. It is a scene where we wait to see if Deckard will survive and return to salvage all that he now cares about - his strange love for Rachel. After this case, we may discern that Deckard 'won't work in this town again'.
It has been suggested that the film suffers from an identity crisis through not knowing whether it is a science fiction thriller or a clever detective film noir. This was never the case. Like in the book, Deckard in the director's cut is a conventional cop confronted by an unconventional case (Nexus Six replicants with memories and primitive emotions) which will bring him close to confronting a hazard that is inherent within us all; the darker more horrific desire for holding onto life. For this is the struggle of Batty and the replicants - how to live with dangerously acute powers and sensibilities bestowed by people such as the arrogant scientist Dr. Tyrell. They are not happy with their gift; playing second-rate to humans, living in fear of death, and by the end, suffering a painful, protracted and useless end. Their inability to comprehend their own mortality and loss of experiences ('like tears in rain') mirrors our own. This is the result of arrogant science, of playing Prometheus, and as a powerful theme resonates to the consideration that human life is not dissimilar. It is true perhaps that this fundamental idea of 'what it means to be human' may come over better in the book than in the film; a stronger depth inherent in the film is that of hunter and hunted. But what we do witness is Deckard's natural but ironic predicament of falling for the enemy, i.e. Rachel. This is perhaps the only goodness in a film illustrating the fallibility of humanity; love and the need to be loved. It is here where we get the dream image of the charging unicorn, a symbol perhaps of an attainable goodness and simplicity amid such dark modernity and angst. Deckard doesn't find an enemy as such in the replicants, but beings every bit as fallible as himself; confused, fearful and understandably dangerous when threatened. A more apparent interpretation of the unicorn is that it is a memory implant given to Deckard - himself a replicant, confirmed at the end when he notices the silver origami creation of the cane-man (a real Blade Runner?) Have they used Deckard as a thief to catch the thieves? Personally, although this is a strong connection, I prefer to think of this as a suggestion only, and that the dream unicorn may also be a real dream, but perhaps attaches to a deeper meaning shared between the blade runners. This, however is the cleverness of the subtle ambiguity in the film; that its suggestions work on numerous levels.
There are other groundings for understanding Deckard as a replicant, with his unemotional dedication to completing the task set for him by the chief. The reaches of Tyrell's influence on the positions of the city are uncertain. Possibly it is all one engineered experiment by the god-like mental Tyrell; introducing Rachel to Deckard, their relationship, Holden's incapacitation at the beginning by Leon, and the need for a being able to match and destroy Batty. But this is relatively inconsequential and merely adds strength to the theme of presenting the experience of humanity - its strange needs and compulsions - through the concept of replicants. The fact that the reference to their murder is classified 'retirement' draws attention to an unjust but deliberate discrimination. What these cops are tracking down in the Nexus Six replicants are mirrors of themselves, suffering from a lack of empathy. The film is laced with a subtle, ironic perspective.
By the time Deckard enters Sebastian's building it becomes apparent that Deckard from this point will hardly be likely to just kill Batty and walk home to Rachel. The climax distils the running of the blade for both characters and for all people. Ultimately, as Rachel and Deckard rush to escape the vicinity of other Blade Runners, but of still inevitable death, their weakness and futility matches Batty's. But they have a sort of love, one that possibly only Deckard feels, and we guess that they will cling to this as they enter the lift and the difficult future. The door slams, life goes on; the players have left the stage. They are left threatened, for possibly the cane-man will ensure that Rachel is hunted down. 'It's too bad she won't live, but then again who does.'
The definitive version of the film is the director's cut, which retains the proper level of ambiguity by subtracting the ill-fitting, unnecessary happy ending. Instead we may wonder whether the unicorn of hope, love and purity (my interpretation) can live, or deserve to live, outside the dream and inside such an exhausted, dead-end of a world. This film is both far-fetched and realistic, bleak in setting but finally hopeful, striking a powerful chord with its searching, struggling characters. Crucial aspects of the human condition are here on display in surely what is a fine creation.

This essay does not include the vast religious parallels that can be read into the characters and their actions eg. the replicants as fallen angels returning to Earth to confront their maker, Batty as a symbol of mankind, Deckard as God's agent of death and Sebastian as an intermediary Jesus Christ.

ESEJ 2 - BLADERUNNER

Roy : ' Fiery the angels fell, Deep thunder roll'd around their shores, Burning with the fires of Orc.'
Bladerunner is not a pleasing film. Visually it is stunning and at the same time frightening. Unlike Stanley Kubick's, ' Space Odyssey 2001 ' with it's pristine images, Bladerunner sets out to shock. It paints a picture of a world where the sun never shines, where it rains incessantly. The crowded streets are narrow and filthy. People rush by dressed in weird attire. The images are magnificent yet decadent. There is a feeling of eeriness and the atmosphere is thick with expectancy. Each frame is like an abstract painting. When viewed, it says different things to different people. There are so many things happening at the same time. The bombardment of the visual effects and the double tongued dialogue has the viewer totally perplexed and this is what the film purposely sets out to do.

For once, the viewer is asked to think. Yet there is no clear - cut plot and everything is not what it seems. What is there is yet not there. What is said has a totally different meaning to the words spoken. The film has a subtext and it is within this subtext that it reveals itself. The behavior of the characters does not tie in with the story - line. There are hidden meanings in everything they say and do. It is not even clear who is human.

The film failed to find its audience because it could not be clearly understood. Understanding is what it demanded. Like all Postmodernist works, it did not conform to the norm. Instead of being a passive consumer, the viewer had to take an active part in the consumption of meaning.

Bladerunner is a parody. It revisits the past, mimics it and holds it up to ridicule. There are definitive religious and philosophical parallels and these are Milton's Paradise Lost and humanity itself. It goes as far as to question God, mock Him and finally kill Him.

Roy and his followers : Pris, Zora and Leon are Milton's fallen angels. They were created by Tyrell ( God ) and given a four year lifespan. God created man and gave him a four - score lifespan. The parallels are quite apparent.

Roy is the symbol of mankind. He was created by God and was separated by his maker, when he was sent off world ( expelled from heaven ). And like Lucifer, sets about on a course of destruction. Milton's battle takes place in heaven. Here it is fought on earth.

The selected extract is part of the dialogue that takes place between Tyrell and Roy when they first confront one another. The latter cannot approach Tyrell directly. He has to make use of an intermediary ; Sebastian ( Jesus Christ ) as his link to God. Biblical teachings has it that God can only be approached through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sebastian is the only true human. He is flesh and blood. He is the composite of both man and replicant as Jesus is a composite of God and man. Just as Jesus Christ lived among men, Sebastian lived among the replicants. In the scriptures, Jesus Christ attempted to bring humanity to God and was killed by those he tried to save. The same thing happened to Sebastian. He brought Roy ( man ) to his creator and was killed for his trouble.

Sebastian was Tyrell's subordinate just as Jesus was God's subordinate. But whereas the Bible says that the score between Lucifer and Christ is yet to be settled, Ridley Scott decides to settle it there and then. He takes advantage of the liberties afforded him by Postmodernism by deciding to rewrite the future. He does not wait for the prophecies as per the Book of Revelations and the final battle. He has Satan kill Christ there and then.

The camera angle used to film the lift ascending to Tyrell's headquarters gives the viewer the impression that it is actually going up to heaven. The interior decor resembles that of a cathedral and there is an aura of holiness about the place.

The dialogue between God and Satan when they finally face one another is frightening. What transpires in the room has a shocking effect on the viewer. Tyrell like God, speaks softly, and does not anger, whereas Roy like Lucifer is tormented and angry.

Tyrell : ' I expected you to come sooner .'
Roy : ' It's not an easy thing to meet your maker . Fiery the angel's fell, Deep thunder roll'd around their shores, Burning with the fires of Orc, I want more life Fucker ! '
Tyrell : ' The light that burns twice burns half as long...and you have burned so very, very brightly Roy.'

Satan is not satisfied by the answers given to him by God and begins to make demands. But it falls on deaf ears and like humanity who pray to God for release from their sufferings, he is left unanswered. Biblical myth has it that humanity must not question God or His motives. The sentence of death placed on mankind will not be rescinded by Him. Humanity cannot sit in judgement of God but Roy Batty kisses his creator, judges Him and kills Him. This is perhaps the most shocking moment in the film as the viewer is left horrified, as Batty with tears rolling down his face gorges out His eyes. He obviously loves his creator but in this scene, he takes on the role of humanity and on behalf of humanity, executes God.

We are asked not to judge. We are born with the sentence of death hanging over us. We cannot question or may not question why we have to suffer through this life. Our prayers for help are most often left unanswered. Thus, when Roy kills God, however horrific it may seem, perhaps finally humanity can pass it's own death sentence on God.

With God and Christ dead, Satan becomes almost a Christ - like figure. There is an aura about him. He glows as if he is all seeing and all knowing. But he is under a death sentence as he is pursued by Dekkard, God's executioner. He has no alternative but to confront the Grim Reaper head-on. He fights the battle not only for himself but also for mankind. Whereas mankind at all times tries to avoid death, Roy turns to confront it. A further significance to substantiate his transition into Christ is that he pierces his hand with a nail, a symbol of Christian crucifixion.



The final scenes in the film are also of great significance. The violent struggle on the rooftops is fought in semi - darkness and pouring rain and it is as if it is taking place in the very bowls of Hell. With the end near, Batty, goes through yet another change. This is manifested in the fact that he prevents Dekkard from falling to his death and indeed becomes his savior.

As they face each other, Roy seems to come to terms with his own mortality and the inevitability of death. He ceases to struggle against what he cannot change....the ' hand of death'. He looks back at what he had done and seen.

' I've seen things you people wouldn't believe, Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, I watched seabeams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate, All those moments will be lost, like tears in rain, Time to die '.

By the time he dies, he has redeemed himself by following in the footsteps of Christ. In order for God to forgive him, he spares the life of the man who killed his beloved Pris. As he dies, the white dove he had been holding flies free into the sky. Finally his soul is purified and on the way upward.

The ' Angel of Death ' ( Dekkard ) looks upon the dead Batty and muses.

' All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where do I come from ? Where am I going ? How long have I got ? All I could do was sit here and watch him die '.

Roy Batty's final words.

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