“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.”
In December 2014, Ridley Scott’s “final cut” version of “Blade Runner” was shown at the BFI Southbank as part of its season “Days of Fear and Wonder”. The film, a critically acclaimed masterpiece of sci-fi cinema, now been re-released on the big screen across the UK.
“Blade Runner” is an extraordinary piece of cinema, a mixture of science fiction and film noir shot through with the sensibilities of the early 1980s. It’s like watching a mash-up of “The Maltese Falcon”, “Metropolis” and Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself” video. Set in a futuristic and oppressively rainy Los Angeles, “Blade Runner” has Harrison Ford hunting down a group of intelligent bioengineered androids (including Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah, both with incredible hairstyles) while falling in love with another android “replicant”, played by Sean Young and her equally impressive 1940s hairdo.
Incredibly, this futuristic setting of the film is, in fact, only four years away from now. “Blade Runner” takes place in 2019 and it’s fascinating to see how creative people in the early 1980s envisioned how technology and society could progress in forty years. We’re fast approaching 21 October 2015, the date to which Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel in “Back to the Future Part II” and there have already been a number of articles about the predictions made in that film, so prepare yourself now for the inevitable think pieces we’ll see in four years’ time about “Blade Runner” and its vision of 2019.
The 2019 of “Blade Runner” is pretty exhausting: Los Angeles is a dystopian Japanified city where the sun never shines and the rain never stops; people drive flying cars but have to stop and park to use a payphone; androids are so intelligent they have to have short life spans in order to stop them becoming too human, yet all computers look remarkably similar to Sinclair ZX Spectrums. The movie directly cites 1940s film noir, but its cutting-edge 1980s fashion also now seems incredibly retro. It’s a film which mixes together so many influences and references, I thought it would be a challenge to find images in the archive that capture the eclectic mood of the movie, in the way that we have in the past with “Twin Peaks” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel“. You can view the complete selection of “Blade Runner”-inspired images over on the akg-images website.