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it is after all a visual medium...

With some films the sheer beauty of the cinematography is the main reason why I love the films. of course the story and the acting helps, but I've always been a sucker for images and love it when I can indulge in gorgeous visuals. So I figured that instead of writing about the film, I'd screen cap parts of them instead. That makes this post rather image heavy, but it is also the only way to do the beautiful cinematography justice.




Blade Runner - the Final Cut

I finally got around to watch the 2007 cut of Blade Runner, and though I will admit to have lost track of which version contains what, I still love the film with a passion. To be honest I find it hard to picture much of modern space opera without it - especially Firefly and BSG lifts whole aspects of their style from the film.








But what I really adore about Blade Runner, and what is usually Ridley Scott's (only) saving grace, is his visual world building. He has this continuous knack of getting things to look good - and few places is this more apparent than in Blade Runner, which in a sense is more icon than movie.








And rewatching Blade Runner it occurred to me that the modern version of Battlestar Galactica owes just as much to this film as the original series. In that vein it should be noted that the film contains:

The requisite Adama...


...as well as odd pigeon metaphors at the end.

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The German director F. W. Murnau consistently made films that were highly visual, and that often had a supernatural theme. This resulted in some stunning cinematography - like in Faust. It is a retelling of the tale of Faust who sells his soul, and Murnau uses the tale for all it is worth to include alchemy, heavy religious symbolism and some of the more stunning special effects of its time.












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The great combo of the supernatural and early cinema also produced the wonderful and weird Swedish silent film Häxan or Witchcraft through the Ages. The film proposes to tell in a lecture like manner the story of witchcraft and analyse it via the science of psychoanalysis. Complete with numerous images of naked women worshipping devils or course.











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Films watched in 2009.

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Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
nutmeg3
Jul. 6th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
Heh! I just caught the tail end of Blade Runner on TV last night, after not having seen it for ages. And I saw Haxan way back in college, because William Burroughs had something or other to do with it, and the eejit I was later stupid enough to marry was doing his dissertation-that-never-materialized on Burroughs.
baleanoptera
Jul. 7th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
I had no idea W. Burroughs was involved with it. It is a strange film though - part documentary and info-mercial and part feature film. Even if all the shots of nude women made me suspect the director just used the documentary approach as an excuse for some kinky photos. ;)
alexandral
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
Blade Runner is my most favourite sci-fi film and may be the most favourite film of all times. Almost every sci-fi film or show that was made after it has some references to the film, including Matrix.
baleanoptera
Jul. 6th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
I think it is one of my favourite sci-fi films as well. It really has everything I love about the genre - from great world building to philosophical plot.

But I'm curious, in what way do you see it influencing The Matrix? I'm not saying that it doesn't, but I'd just like to hear you thoughts about it.
alexandral
Jul. 6th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
I think, Matrix had many revolutionary visuals that are just it's own (like bullet bending) but some of the images of machines and darker images of the city - I can feel definite influence of "Blade Runner" (and "Dark City", but "Dark City" itself is influenced by "Blade Runner" IMHO). One moment I remember in particular - the moment when Trinity is falling from a building has definite resemblance with the moment when Rick is hanging of a building in "Blade Runner". But there are many others, I think. Neo at the beginning resembles Rick very much too.

Another aspect - both these films explore ideas of artificial intelligence and get it right and because of it both hit the spot as far as "geeky" computer-related culture is concerned.

Plus both have philosophical and mystical references and again, both get it right.

But, I don't mean this as a "bad thing" - "Blade Runner" is so good that it has become "public property".

Edited at 2009-07-06 10:01 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
baleanoptera
Jul. 6th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
I'm considering starting a club to keep a list of all those poor doves and pigeons employed in film/tv. "Birds against Symbolic Cruelty" or something.

Murnau is just awesome. Granted I tend to geek out a bit about early German cinema, but Murnau is one of the greats. It's a toss up between this and Nosferatu which one of his films I like best, but the creepy religious symbolism in Faust is hard to beat.

ps. icon love!
mnemo_syne
Jul. 7th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
Neat. I love BR. I should watch that again.
baleanoptera
Jul. 7th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
I love huge, futuristic cityscapes - and Blade Runner delivers in full. Also, I want a flying car.
mnemo_syne
Jul. 7th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
You'd think there would be flying cars by now. Hmmph.
dianora77
Jul. 7th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
Haxan has been on my must-see list since I first heard about it, back in high school when I first started exploring cinema. Still haven't had the opportunity.
baleanoptera
Jul. 7th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
It has just recently been restored and released by a Swedish film institute, which I how I ended up seeing it (as well as the magnificent and creepy "Sir Arne's Treasure" from 1919). It is definitely worth a watch as the cinematography is incredibly good. There are also some torture scenes that gave me the creeps in the clinical manner they were presented. All in all the film makes a lasting impression.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )