(Extremely random notes on “Blade Runner”)
Deckard’s encounter with the Esper is Ridley Scott’s encounter with Hollywood directing: no hands-on camera work.
Deckard isn’t human at the start of the film. It’s trite to say that they are at the end of the film because the replicants have shown them how, but it’s also true.
Los Angeles not looking like Los Angeles is the point. That’s what global capital does. But it doesn’t retrofit – it creatively destroys.
Given the future of water wars seen from actual 2019 the endless rain in Blade Runner is weirdly hopeful.
Time gradient in dress. The replicants skew punk, the co(r)ps skew 1940s.
A class time gradient. But high fashion has its seasons.
Deep time of cultural reference.
Deckard works for the Human Security System. Anthropol.
The Voight-Kampf test makes them a literal Turing Cop.
Fugitive replicants are “no more submission to the drudgery of labour, productive and reproductive alike”. They have defected from the HSS. Deckard will follow them. The punishment for defection (treason) is death. But until then they are free.
Voight (Vogt): bailiff, darm manager, supervisor.
Kampff (Kampf): struggle.
Noir as a framing of corruption and treachery at the personal and institutional level.
A movie about simulacra and retrofitting has become a retrofitted simulation of itself.
The darks of Blade Runner’s available light filming worked well withe the warm blue and orange noise shadows of VHS video cassettes.
The film’s limited settings and disjointed fragments add to its dream-like quality.
If we cannot trust our memories our selves are ungrounded.
“Retrofitting Blade Runner” (1992/1997) is a collection of wonderfully insightful essays on all different aspects of Blade Runner from a time when Film Studies writers were still surprised by movies that weren’t explicitly Marxist and were still using the term for people from East Asia that is now only used for furniture.
“Future Noir” (2017 revised edition) covers the production of Blade Runner in great detail in a more journalistic register. The latest edition contains much that is new (and its website includes even more that is slightly less new but was cut for reasons of space).