Blade Runner (BFI Film Classics)

November 3, 2020
Blade Runner (BFI Film Classics)

Ridley Scott's dystopian classic Blade Runner, anadaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, Do Androids Dream ofElectric Sheep?, combines noir with science fiction to createa groundbreaking cyberpunk vision of urban life in the twenty-firstcentury. With replicants on the run, the rain-drenched Los Angeleswhich Blade Runner imagines is a city of oppression and enclosure,but a city in which transgression and disorder can always erupt.Graced by stunning sets, lighting, effects, costumes andphotography, Blade Runner succeeds brilliantly in depicting a worldat once uncannily familiar and startlingly new. In his innovativeand nuanced reading, Scott Bukatman details the making of BladeRunner and its steadily improving fortunes following itsrelease in 1982. He situates the film in terms of debates aboutpostmodernism, which have informed much of the criticism devoted toit, but argues that its tensions derive also from thequintessentially twentieth-century, modernist experience of thecity – as a space both imprisoning and liberating.In his foreword to this special edition, published to celebratethe 20th anniversary of the BFI Film Classics series, Bukatmansuggests that Blade Runner's visual complexity allows itto translate successfully to the world of high definition andon-demand home cinema. He looks back to the science fictiontradition of the early 1980s, and on to the key changes in the'final' version of the film in 2007, which risk diminishing thesense of instability created in the original.