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Compiled by Tanya Appleby ( AIS Conference Notes Stapleton & Kruse (2008), Sydney University. Blade Runner: Context. Origins & Context. Based on Philip K Dick’s (1968) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Vietnam War: brutalisation & desensitization of humanity 3 Raising questions:

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compiled by tanya appleby ais conference notes stapleton kruse 2008 sydney university
Compiled by Tanya Appleby

( AIS Conference Notes Stapleton & Kruse (2008), Sydney University

Blade Runner: Context

origins context
Origins & Context
  • Based on Philip K Dick’s (1968) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Vietnam War: brutalisation & desensitization of humanity
  • 3 Raising questions:
  • ‘What is it to be human?’
  • ‘What is it that separates humans from machines?
  • ‘Does love and compassion make us human & humane’
do androids dream of electric sheep
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • The text presents the following themes:
  • Paranoia
  • Alienation
  • Man’s emotional sterility & inhumanity
  • Misuse of earth’s resources & ecological issues

In Summary: Rep. Earth as ‘hellish’ with manifestations of St Elmo’s fire and

Post-holocaust dystopia

st elmo s fire
St. Elmo’s Fire

WHAT IS IT?

What does it look like?

  • St Elmo’s Fire is a bright blue or violet glow that appears from masts, spires or sharp pointed structures. It often has a distinct glow and a buzzing or hissing sound
some ideas in blade runner
Some ideas in Blade Runner
  • Moral philosophical & sociological concerns in the context of a fictional futuristic environment
  • The isolation and alienation of the environment of 2019 ( although it transcends any time period)
  • Cautionary tale of the post-modern world
  • Human Vs machine intelligence
contextual references to descartes
Contextual References to Descartes
  • Rene Descartes (1596-1650) “Father of Modern Philosophy”
  • His principle: Thought exists. Thought can not be separated from me, therefore, I exist.
  • “cogito ergo sum”: “I think therefore I am”
  • Lead to the possibility of machine intelligence
influences film noir
Influences: Film Noir
  • French: Black Film
  • Has origins in 1940/50s when Americans were disillusioned with the world and the society
  • Represents a general feeling of despair
blade runner film noir
Blade Runner & Film Noir
  • Scenes are dark, murky and reflect corruption & disillusionment
  • Dark lighting that can obscure the action & ‘deglamourise the hero’
  • Strong use of shadow and other dim lighting; overuse of oblique and vertical lines as opposed to horizontal lines to create claustrophobia
  • Unnatural shadows to illuminate interiors
  • Use of high angle/low angle shots to disorientate the viewer and create a feeling of isolation and alienation/detachment
  • Action takes place at night or in the rain, blinds are pulled down. Indoor lighting subdued
film noir con t
Film Noir con’t

Characterisation:

  • Often presented as corrupt or immerses in a seedy world or harsh criminal world
  • The hero is often disillusioned with life. May be rep. as a loner, world weary hero, cast in shadows and fatalistic
  • Often a femme fatale who threatens the heroes mission as he becomes involved with her- This often puts him on moral damger or in a dilemma ( Rachael)
structure
Structure

The structure:

  • The hero is usually given a mission but it is not straight forward. There is a strong element of danger and he is forces to deal with grotesque characters
  • The hero is rep. as the protector of society often with a rough moral edge ( often driven to extreme behaviours)
  • Pessimistic tone
film noir
Film Noir

Connection to Detective Fiction

  • Associated with Hollywood drama
  • Moral ambiguity
  • Classic 40s/50s B&W films
  • Origins in German Expressionism
  • The rise of hardboiled school of crime fiction
the structure of the detective genre
The Structure of the Detective Genre

Elements

Our question is?

In what ways does Blade Runner subvert the traditional detective Genre structure?

  • The seemingly perfect crime
  • The wrongly accused suspect at whom all circumstantial evidence points
  • Bungling of the dim-witted police
  • The greater powers of observation & superior intellect of the detective
  • The unsuspecting denouement in which the detective reveals how the culprits identity was ascertained
visual images
Visual Images
  • http://pplibraryreviews.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/androids.jpg 20/3/09
  • http://imagecache.allposters.com/images/pic/MEPOD/10032262~Sailors-in-the-Rigging-Alarmed-by-the-Appearance-of-St-Elmo-s-Fire-at-the-Tip-of-a-Spar-Posters.jpg 20/3/09
  • http://www.iep.utm.edu/images/descarte.jpg 20/3/09
  • http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ODcn0431n4w/ST2lQUI_BVI/AAAAAAAAAn0/e_VxHgPjgk4/s400/film_noir_0028.jpg 20/3/09
  • http://filmhistory.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/noir1.jpg 20/3/09
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