I remember going to the premier in Leicester square when I lived in London in the early 80,s and being blown away from the first moments of the surround sounds and ultra low frequency rumbles in the establishing shot to the end title sequence ,and one time in New York I watched it on a late night TV broadcast in black and white ,the perfect setting and atmosphere to emphasize its film Noir influence and undercurrent once its reduce to BW you can really see how brilliant the lighting and photography is shot Jordan Cronenweth cinematography ,a 2003 poll of his peers conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild placed Cronenweth among the ten most influential cinematographers of all time .But what strikes me most is the alarming accurateness of the central themes and concerns that inhabit P K D,s Ideas. One in particular has over these years has become increasing endemic and it’s the lack of caritas, and the inability to empathize with the existential plight of other life forms caught in the same multiverse.
What raises the android Roy Batty to human status in Blade Runner is that, on the brink of his own death, he is able to empathize with Deckard.’What makes (Dick,s protagonists) true heroes is that ultimately, on one level or another, whatever reality mazes they may be caught in, they realize that the true base reality is not absolute or perceptual ,but moral and empathetic’ ..1
like tears in rain
The ultimate relevance of Blade Runner lies in its doubled ,complex understanding of what it must mean to be human ,not only at the end of the 20th century ,but throughout it. Slavoj Zizek refers to ‘ the eternal gnawing doubt over whether I am truly human or just an android –it is these very undecided, intermediate states which make me human’. 2
It seems increasingly that this integral and central human facility is atrophying at an ever increasing pace in this new technological political & economic climate …………..
1 Norman Spinard ,’The Transmogrification of Philip K Dick’.in Science Fiction in the Real World (Carbondale IL,Southern Illinois University Press 1990 ) p.120
2 `Slavoj Zizek ,I or He or It (The Thing ) Which Thinks’, in the tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology (Durham,’NC Duke University Press, 1993 ), p 9-44
“The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides taught that the only things that are real are things which never change… and the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus taught that everything changes. If you superimpose their two views, you get this result: Nothing is real.” ― Philip K. Dick
Before He Died, Philip K. Dick Wrote This Prescient Letter About ‘Blade Runner’
Sadly, Dick would never find out how right he was — he died three months before the film hit Theaters