On 8 January 2016 it was replicant Roy Batty’s birthday… the future, according to Blade Runner 1982, is here.
One of Blade Runner’s central characters Roy Batty is an android illegally on earth who has made his way to the dystopian, rain-soaked Los Angeles attempting to extend his limited life span of only four years and escape his fate as a slave. Batty and a number of humanoid replicants are locked in a deadly engagement with Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a policeman charged with ‘retiring’ the replicants.
The conflict between humans who are emotionless and androids who have developed so fully that they’ve surpassed their intended function as useful tools and now desperately desire to live comes to full culmination in Roy Batty’s ‘Tears in Rain’ monologue. A much loved, moving soliloquy delivered by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, this was rewritten by Hauer from Ridley Scott’s original screenplay. It’s rumoured the film crew clapped and cried after he delivered it.
One of cinema’s most influential science fiction films, Blade Runner considers humanity’s relationship to artificial intelligence, what it means to be human in counterpoint to humanoid technologies, and the moral implications of creating sentient machines and the consequences of artificial intelligence that gains independence.
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Mind vs Machine: What Makes Us Human? Gallery of Modern Art, Australian Cinématheque 9 – 13 March 2016.