Using the film Blade Runner for GCSE English.


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Essay Titles | Filmic Techniques


Possible Essay Titles

1. The Portrayal of The Future in several films (see also Westworld)
2. Robots and androids in Science Fiction films. How are they portrayed and how are they different from humans? (see also Westworld) (Some definitions here)

3. What does Blade Runner tell us about our possible futures?

4. What is the message of Blade Runner?

5. Films of the Future - what is the message? (compare Metropolis, Forbidden Planet, , Westworld, Terminator, The Matrix)


For example, compare these two city views:


 from Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1926

 from Bladerunner, Ridley Scott 1982


Filmic Techniques

Refer to these in your essay.
In each case use IEQ - Identify, Exemplify, Qualify

so make a comment, provide an example of it, then explain its significance

1. Camera movements and shots | | | | |
eg the early travelling shots across the city to give us a perspective on Los Angeles in 2019. A low angle shot of Roy as he saves Deckard emphasises his heroic status. High lighting of Roy in the lift after killing Tyrrel.
2. Special effects | |
eg the shooting of Zhora, done in slow motion from several angles through broken glass windows and her body seen bleeding through a transparent mac to highlight the shock of killing a defenceless woman. Other shots eg Deckard hanging from the girder are examples of matte shots, in which a studio set hasa background projected in later
3. Characters  
see Characters elsewhere  
4. Setting | | | |
eg the massive scale and perspective of the city from above contrasted with the polluted, worn out constantly raining dystopia of the ground level which shows us we are in a commercial and brutal emotionless world. Note also the mixture of advanced but often failing technology - while the replicants, the spinners and the camera enhancing device work, the general effect is of decay.
5. Dialogue | |

see Script for the complete screenplay, but note especially Roy's final words:

"Quite an experience to feel fear. That's what it is to be a slave"

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All these moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain. Time to die."

and (from the first version, not the director's cut)

"Gaff had been there... and let her live. Four years, he figured... but he was wrong.
Tyrell had told me Rachael was special.
Not only had he given her memories... but he'd set no termination date.
I didn't know how long we'd have together... but who does?"

6 Atmosphere & Lighting | | |
eg the atmosphere is mainly shadow. This effect in films is called "film noir". The only time there is sunshine is once on a journey in Gaff's spinner and then in the main offices of the Tyrrell corporation. In addition the rain is everywhere, constant, pierced only by the blue rays of searchlights at times. There is also an atmosphere of menace.
7 Adaptation   
Read the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick and read comments on this source book. What differences needed to be made in adapting a book to the big screen. What has been gained and what has been lost in the process?

Duncan Grey