Friday, January 27, 2012

Blade Runner

Watching Blade Runner with the sound down at the moment, in little bursts*. Things I hadn't noticed before: Bryant's hunting photos on his lampshade. The advert for Koss Stereophones. The way Rachel's hair, lipstick and shoulderpads channel Klaus Nomi.

One thing that has always bugged me about Blade Runner is the screens: every screen in the film (barring the advertising displays) is a big convex CRT. Until now, I'd always assumed this was just a failure of future prediction. They are CRTs because the designers couldn't imagine a flatscreen future. Now I think I was wrong in assuming this: the screens are convex because they resemble eyes that way, and Blade Runner is a film about eyes. Eyes and smoke. Eyes betray, but it takes a camera and screen to reveal the truth. The linkage is the circular mirror in the photo Deckard retrieves from Leon's apartment. It's a circular mirror, resembling an eye, and it requires a camera and a screen reveal the deeper truth: Zhora's snake.

Incidentally, I've always assumed the mirror here is a reference to the circular mirror in the Arnolfini portrait. The truth of the Arnolfini is somehow encoded in the figures in the mirror, but we've lost the ability to read it. Perhaps Deckard and a glass of whisky would solve it for us.

*Less effective than I'd hoped. I'm doing it so I'm not distracted by the plot and can just absorb the visuals. However, I know the script so well that I'm hearing the dialogue anyway.

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