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Friday 4 January 2013

Expiration Date


Hong Kong #31: photo by Thomas Birke, 2009

Great moment in Blade Runner where Roy
Batty is expiring, and talks about how everything
he’s seen will die with him --
ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion
sea-beams glittering before the Tannhauser Gate.

Memory is like molten gold
......burning its way through the skin
It stops there.
...........................There is no transfer

Nothing I have seen
will be remembered
beyond me
That merciful cleansing
of the windows of creation
will be an excellent thing
my interests notwithstanding.

But then again I’ve never been
.........near Orion, or the Tannhauser

I’ve only been here.

File:Tears In Rain.png 

Roy Batty, played by Rutger Hauer, after the "Tears in Rain" soliloquy from Blade Runner: The Final Cut: image by Jirachiwish, 17 December 2011

'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time. Like tears in rain. Time to die.'
-- final soliloquy of the replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in Blade Runner

Hong Kong #26: photo by Thomas Birke, 2009

Hong Kong #11: photo by Thomas Birke, 2009

Tokyo X: photo by Thomas Birke, 2008

Hong Kong #09: photo by Thomas Birke, 2009

Hong Kong #32: photo by Thomas Birke, 2009


gamefaced said...

i was thinking about memory/expiration this morning on the way to work. and that blade runner bit is one of my most favorite movie quotes.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Thank our lucky stars you were here.

Hazen said...

Here here! It's always been a limited time offer.

Phillip K. Dick raised science fiction to another level.

Mose23 said...

Still turning over those burning and beautiful lines:

Memory is like molten gold/ burning its way through the skin/ It stops there.

I'm not so sure the traces vanish so easily. And for myself, when looking, I never feel quite alone (maybe its all that old time religion I drank up in infancy).

"I've only been here.": both humility and force in this line.

I agree with Vassilis wholeheartedly.

Anna R said...

The irony is that Roy is a replicant (android) whose "emotional" responses are ultimately the products of code, and whose "memories," whether specifically implanted or not, are certainly code-generated/modified/stored, etc. This death scene, including Hauer's allegedly improvised speech, calls into question the reliability, the degree of confabulation, and therefore the value of all memories, including yours and mine regarding this film, of course. ;>

TC said...

Thanks to all. Feels almost like home.

PK Dick wrote the Ur Text (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) on speed, in an upstairs apartment, in this dead town, on the Avenue of My Last Gallows Walk.

WB, while the jury's still out on whether or not the Sean Young character in Blade Runner was a replicant, I am virtually certain Margaret Lockwood was real, indeed acutely so, the more I gape at that brilliant clip.

"People don't just disappear into thin air... the old Indian rope trick."

That must be what happened to Roy Batty.

(Can the white pigeon that flaps out of the basket in the luggage car at 7:49 have been a relative of Roy's white pigeon?)

Yes, Anna, the confabulation, or collaboration in narrative construction, is the work of multiple minds -- almost always, but of particular interest here, as this is a serious work of art, constructed thirty years ago (may as well have been thirty centuries) in what might be seen as the last gasp for "mainstream" motion pictures as an art form (talking of "time to die...").

There is a great deal of fact and myth and legend interwoven with the history of the making of this film. It's interesting to consider Rutger Hauer's 2010 reminiscence. Plainly this is someone who was lifted up, indeed out of himself, by the experience of participation in the work.

Rutger Hauer talks about Blade Runner (2010)

Hauer's role in the creation of the text of the "Time to die" soliloquy is interesting. As he explains, the "operatic...high tech talk" in the script bothered him more than a bit. The replicant's batteries were running out... just as the actor's patience was also wearing thin. So he took the liberty of cutting most of the scripted speech (he "put a knife in it" the night
before filming, without director Ridley Scott's knowledge).

Here is the Fancher/Peoples script, in the final draft (sans some of the "high tech talk" to which the actor had objected), before Hauer's improvised on-camera "edit":

They stare at each other for a long time in silence,
communicating something with their eyes... without
expression. Finally Batty breaks the silence.

I've seen things...
(long pause)
seen things you little people
wouldn't believe... Attack ships
on fire off the shoulder of Orion
bright as magnesium... I rode on
the back decks of a blinker and
watched c-beams glitter in the dark
near the Tanhauser Gate.
all those moments... they'll be gone.

Batty holds Deckard's eyes like a hypnotist.



Batty is crumpled in a different position. It's light-
er now and Batty's eyes are staring into infinity...
almost lifelessly. A pigeon flutters down and perches
on his shoulder. Batty doesn't stir.

Deckard is watching motionless.

The pigeon flies off.

Batty doesn't move. Alive or dead?

u.v.ray. said...

One of my favourite films. I am ashamed to say I've had Dick's book on my 'to read' list for years. For me, it's amongst those books we all have that we haven't gotten around to reading.

My body is too old for speed these days. But in my younger years it was my favourite drug for a decade and I found it to be a very useful tool.

But hey, kids. Don't listen to me, stay off the drugs.