I’ve watched Blade Runner once. It was the Director’s Cut. I saw it the last night I was in Portland for a weekend. I had my friends’ place to myself. My flight was early the next morning so I was in while they were out. They had a copy in their VHS collection. So I popped it in before bed. It would be nice to tell you that what I saw was a life-changing revelation. It was merely a movie I thought was excellent. The memory of the context in which I watched Blade Runner was a warm one, that whole weekend in Portland is a warm memory. The details are there if I look for them. Details of that weekend and of Blade Runner. I don’t have many warm memories.
All of my memories are more based on feeling than imagery. So when I have a warm memory I never want to look too closely at it. I don’t want to lose the warmth for anything. So I never re-visited Blade Runner again since that weekend in October of 2013. I may never.
Possibly later that month or the next, it was cold weather and gray is what I remember, I saw Prisoners. I was quite taken with it. It was lush with gray and black visually. A rainy autumnal overcast was over everything. It was somber. It was surprisingly pulpy. What I thought was going to be a movie about the despair of having a missing child was a potboiler about a weird detective and a guy who takes the law into his own hands screwing everything up. If there is anything that I can define as “my taste” its lurid pulpy or noirish material artfully done. It was my, as well as most people in this country I guess, introduction to Denis Villeneuve. His subsequent movies would make him my favorite working director.
To see Blade Runner and Denis Villeneuve that close together is a wonderful confluence of then and now. Until writing this I hadn’t put together those two, I suppose, formative things that happened to me. Event or experience seem too grand a label for watching movies.
Blade Runner 2049 was a perfect movie to me. Perfect not meaning flawless but so suited to my tastes, what I want from a movie, nourishing tastes I have already, feeding me things I didn’t know I wanted until I was chewing on them already (I had no idea that I wanted to see two robots and a hologram have a threesome until I saw it done so sensually.) A movie grand in scale and ambition with the confidence to have a climax so small. Because it had the sense to boil down the conflict to essentials. To have these little flyaway bits of story to chew on forever. That the story of the world could go on and on because it lives outside of the story of K. The movie only has to stop because it can only go as far as K can.
I suppose you never know when you’re going to get a new favorite movie. It can feel like all-at-once. Anything all-at-once can feel fraudulent. At least to me. Sometimes it just takes time and a little memory.
Daniel Von Egidy