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TIFF Day 11

Film Recommendation / Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)

‘Blade Runner:2049,’ is perfect.

It’s got everything I’ve been writing about. Whether that’s due to the nature of film storytelling, an inherent quality of human narrative, or my own knack for blending synchronicity and purpose, I cannot say.

Each of the elements I’ve mentioned, these ‘touchstones,’ work together in translating my own thoughts on the nature and value of sentience as explored in BR:2049.

Sentience is a cold word when used to describe humanity. It’s broad. It’s not coloured by feeling, or warmed by memory. It is sentience at the root of everything human.

Seeing I don’t have the time to write much fresh for this post, I’ll excerpt part of an email I wrote a few years ago. It doesn’t approach the whole of what I’ve intended this series of posts to present, but it starts the process, if you choose to imagine what it is I am getting at here.

...BR:2049 is presenting a series of questions on the nature of sentient life. On one hand, it poses the question of whether sentience is something other than a mechanistic system of input and output. On the other, it asks whether or not there is a soul, and what it’s nature and origin might be. If we attribute the greatest of human qualities to that which we think of as the soul, we can list as among it’s components: empathy, a capacity for love, forgiveness, a sense of justice, hope, courage, and the autonomy which makes those things meaningful. All these qualities, in humans, have been viewed as proceeding from the divine in man. The characters who most readily display these qualities in BR:2049 are all Replicants, or are synthetic. They are all governed by programs and rules imposed on them. These constraints all have the effect of undermining what might otherwise be celebrated as the organic development of a soul. If sentient life exists within a rigid framework, then can the elevation of a being’s existence become exceptional? Is it possible for the result of a program to be divine?
…consider here the character of Wallace, the man-god and rebel who persists in destroying the possibility of any human divinity other than himself. I’d love to spend some time applying the term hubris to his character and contrasting it with the imagery they chose to identify him with, the machine eyes which are theā€¦is it antithesis(?) of the VK test indicator for empathy, the pupil, the iris. Is it that his character is so completely without empathy, without humanity, that makes him so aggressively Luciferian? Or is it his reliance on the technology that has built his base of power that has made him so? Maybe one day when I’ve got the resources to brush up on my essay writing (and the use of Biblical stories in film and literature) I’ll make an analysis. Until then I’ll content myself speculating about the connection between the greater eye and vision metaphor the movie opens with and the vision, memory and dream metaphor present illuminating the character of Deckard and Rachael’s child.

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