Week 11 Blog Assignment

Blade Runner perfectly exemplifies what we’ve been talking about in class regarding both playing into and against genre, as well as mixing genres. It shows many of the classic elements of film noir while also exploring more genres such as sci-fi, allowing the film to give a more versatile viewing experience.
Blade Runner plays into film noir in many ways, and many of these are described in detail by Paul Schrader in the reading from FT&C. Perhaps the most notable of all of these is the effects of lighting employed to create shadows and imply nighttime. Though obviously some of the movie probably took place during the day, almost all of the scenes are not only darkly lit from within the room, but also evoke a sense of occurring when the sun is not up. In another similarly related way, film noir echoes some elements of German Expressionism; obscure lighting never fully frames any of the characters and creates heavy shadows. Also, many noir films feature more commonplace sets and costumes; contrary to this, Blade Runner more effectively reflects Expressionism, with its highly stylized city and futuristic costumes. Finally, water is heavily prevalent in a standard film noir, as we have in Blade Runner. There is always a heavy downpour occurring outside, and water even plays a role inside buildings. In the climactic sequence, water is running down the wall between Deckard and Roy, and in other sequences inside the same house, water is on some of the floors.
One main theme of film noir is displayed many times over: hopelessness. Pris sleeps in a pile of garbage, Sebastian lives eternally alone with a bunch of animated yet not living dolls, Deckard loses his only gun in a fight with one of the Replicants and Deckard and Rachel have no hope of a future together. The fact that the Replicants only have four years to live and no way to fight this fact really solidifies the hopelessness that film noir finds so appealing.

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