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The Representation of the Body in Blade Runner Essay

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This essay will discuss the representation of the body in Blade Runner because in discussing the effects of something yet to happen which is the dystopia presented by Blade Runner, in the present tense i.e. in assuming that it has already happened, we gain a greater insight and understanding of the consequences of our actions as a society now. Dystopic films and novels such as Blade Runner, Nineteen Eighty Four and Brave New World are invaluable as texts which have tied together philosophical, political, sociological and economic lines of enquiry and have presented ideas of our future and perhaps sometimes warnings about where a certain path might lead. I have chosen Blade Runner as my study text because it presents a future that is dangerously close to the now but clearly stems from the mistakes and lessons of the past.

Key to understanding the representation of the body in Blade Runner is the replicants and their relation to the film's protagonist Deckard (played by Harrison Ford). The replicants are genetically engineered machines that simulate a human in every physical way, blade runners are a special police force that locate and `retire' replicants who have escaped their slave labour on the off-world colonies, and have returned to Earth seeking more life (replicants are designed with a four year life-span).

Blade runners detect replicants by administering a Voigt-Kampff test, using a Voigt-Kampff machine. The Voigt-Kampff machine identifies replicants by looking for emotional response in the "capillary dilation of the so called blush response" the "fluctuation of the pupil" and "involuntary dilation of the iris." The close-up of the eye that the Voigt-Kampff apparatus displays enables the blade runner to see emotional ...


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... thin line between good and evil, human and inhuman? But this is the power of the film's message, because the text refuses to endorse one side over the other, it refuses to say who is truly evil and who is truly good. In doing this it states, and this is the central message of the film, that what it means to be human is indefinable.

Bibliography

1984 George Orwell

Blade Runner Ridley Scott

Brave New World Aldous Huxley

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick

Future Noir Paul Sammon

Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution Francis Fukuyama

Phillip K. Dick - A Day in the Afterlife

Phillip K. Dick: The Dream Connection

Projecting the shadow: The Cyborg Hero in American Film Janice Hocker Rushing and Thomas S. Frentz

Retrofitting Blade Runner Judith Kerman

York Film Notes; Blade Runner Nick Lacey


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