I was commissioned again to do a poster for an amazing film showing at the Astor Theatre in Australia. TommyGood.com is the on-line retailer for these, and they just went live on their site on Wednesday. I will have my copies for sale in a few, but they do still have some left, and I highly suggest you go over there to pick it up, as I don’t have many at all. This print measures 12×25, with 5 colors, including a gloss overlay for the rain effect, edition of 230. There is a glow in the dark version as well, limited to 90 copies.
Blade Runner is by far my favorite film, and it was great to visit the imagery again in print format, and this time for an actual screening.
CREEPY SELF-SERVING RAMBLING AFTER THE JUMP!
Now, I’m going to break a cardinal rule of mine, and talk about my thoughts on this print. Depending on how this goes, I may very well never do this again.
Like many of my movie inspired prints, I chose a scene that was familiar, but from an angle not seen on camera. That way, I get to let my imagination run a bit, while still working in the visual language of the film. Otherwise, I’m just drawing a screenshot, and THAT’s no fun. It’s fast and easy, yes…but no fun. With these prints, I’m purposefully avoiding drawing a likeness of the actor or actress depicted. And it’s not because I can’t draw a likeness- heck, I can nail out a portrait while standing on my head. No, it’s because once you draw a face of a famous person, the print becomes about THEM. A part in the viewer’s brain just focuses on the face and the rest of the print could just not be there for all it matters. For a film like Blade Runner, the backgrounds and settings are just as much a part of the viewing experience as any of the performances. And in all honesty, there’s no need for anyone to do a big ‘epic movie’ every-actor’s-portrait type print for Blade Runner ever again, as Tyler Stout’s excellent print from 2008 is just about the final word on that.
I chose this scene in particular, as not only is it the climax of the story, but from my perspective, Roy Batty is the hero of the film. Deckard might be the lead, but it’s Batty who has the character arc and drives the story. Batty is looking for answers from his creator, demanding that he (Tyrell) explain himself and reveal the secrets of Batty’s existence. But like all God-figures, Tyrell is ineffectual and his answers are unsatisfying. He’s just a man in a tower sending out his clockwork people to live and suffer and die. And once Batty realizes the reality of this, he puts his hands around God’s head and crushes it. In that scene, Batty goes from being a desperate child, seeking his parent’s approval and answers, to a fully realized person, accepting of his own mortality.
Although he does knock Deckard around quite a bit, he doesn’t kill him, even though he had plenty of opportunities. Batty’s last act is that of supreme humanity- the saving of a life, that of his enemy. For me, having a character that murders his God and proves that in the afterglow of deicide that life is suddenly even more precious, and that he’s capable of mercy…well that just hits all the buttons in my brain all at once.
Then, he dies. The dove he was cradling the whole scene flies away. All his life’s accomplishments and memories will soon be washed away, like “tears in the rain.”
(As an aside, what self-respecting action movie has a climax be a non-fight, an act of humanity from the villain, and a discussion on the impermanence of life? An amazing film, that’s what.)
In the film, Tyrell says “The life that burns twice as bright burns twice as fast.” In a recent interview, Christopher Hitchens said that he has “burned the candle at both ends, and it gave a lovely light.” The similarity of both of these statements is coincidental, but I believe important to note. While you’re alive, you should live. Kill your gods and live.