Blade Runner's future noir, proto-cyberpunk vision of a Los Angeles both post-industrial and re-industrial, both first-world and third-world, has remained in the more than 30 years since its unsuccessful first run the definitive image of the city's future. Using a combination of studio backlots, scale models, matte paintings, and actual Los Angeles architectural landmarks, the film imagines a "retrofitted," Japanified Babel of a megalopolis that, through the name of the film, still stands for a thoroughly realized dystopia — and, increasingly, a tantalizing one.
The video essays of "Los Angeles, the City in Cinema" examine the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself.
For more on "The City in Cinema", "Notebook on Cities and Culture", and "A Los Angeles Primer", visit colinmarshall.org
Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) from Colin Marshall on Vimeo.