<i>Blade Runner</i>'s Moving Still

Elissa Marder

in The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780823240555
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240593 | DOI:
Blade Runner's Moving Still

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This chapter examines the relationship between humans and androids in Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner by looking at how the film reflects on its own status as a film and the role that photographs play in it. In the film, humans rely on technological supplements in order to lay false claim to the moral certainties of being human. The chapter analyzes several pivotal scenes in which photographs become the locus of a meditation on what it means to be human. These scenes include a cinematic quotation and reworking of Antonioni's Blow-Up in which a mechanically enhanced photograph provides evidence for a future murder, and a scene in which the replicant Rachel attempts to prove that she is human by producing a photograph of herself as a child with her mother. In the sequence analysed, the photographic image of the mother appears to become strangely animated, thereby indicating that neither the “mother” nor “photography” provides a stable ground for the category of the human.

Keywords: Blade Runner; Ridley Scott; Philip K. Dick; Blow-Up; primal scene; androids; photographs; Barthes; empathy test; mother

Chapter.  7909 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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