Blade Runner to be Screened at A&M International Thursday

Blade Runner, a seminal science-fiction film that has attained cult status, will be screened at Texas A&M International University on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in Bullock Hall, room 101.

The screening, part of the University's "Manifestations of 'Noir' " Fall Film Series, is free of charge and open to the public.

Film Series organizers Dr. Sean Chadwell, assistant professor of English, and Dr. William Nichols, assistant professor of Spanish, noted the version of Blade Runner that will be screened is the wide screen, director's cut.

"The director's cut of this film--which we'll be projecting in letterbox format--lacks the voice-over narration of the original, making it a bit more challenging," commented Chadwell.

Nichols added that the ending of director Ridley Scott's later version is "much less trite, much less Hollywood," and encouraged interested viewers to come and see for themselves.

Drs. Chadwell and Nichols will briefly introduce the film and profile its stylistic and thematic debt to 'noir' before viewing. At the film's conclusion, an informal discussion will be held to answer questions and allow audience members to share their comments on the film.

The film is set in Los Angeles in the year 2019 when advanced robot evolution and genetic engineering produced artificial humans called "Replicants" that were virtually identical to humans, but were superior in strength, agility, and intelligence. They were used as slave labor on outworld colonies, but after a bloody mutiny were declared illegal on Earth and special police squads called Blade Runners were assigned to execute any trespassing Replicants. As the film begins, a band of Replicants have secretly returned to Earth to find a way to change the genetic coding that allows them to live only four years. Ex-Blade Runner Rick Deckard is assigned to track them down.

The film is rated R for violence and stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Daryl Hannah. It was directed by Ridley Scott, director of Alien, and is based loosely on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Although Blade Runner was a box-office failure when first released in 1982, its stunning visuals, intense musical score, and intriguing plot propelled it to cult status.

"What's especially interesting to us--and the reason we chose to include this film in the series," explains Nichols, "is that its combination of stylized film noir and stylized science fiction winds up telling us a lot more about how filmmakers have historically understood what exactly noir is. Blade Runner demonstrates that noir is style above all else--that plot and setting, which are in this case the domain of sci-fi, don't matter nearly so much as style. We'll be discussing this at the screening," Chadwell promised.

The free film series began on Sept. 7 and continues every Thursday at 7 p.m. in Bullock Hall room 101 through Nov. 30. The Series schedule is as follows: September 28 - "Insomnia" (1997); October 5 - "Fargo" (1996); October 12 - "Touch of Evil" (1958); October 19 - "L.A. Confidential" (1997); October 26 - "Double Indemnity" (1944); November 2 - "Body Heat" (1981); November 9 - "Rear Window" (1954); November 16 - "Tesis" (1996); and November 30 - "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" (1982).

For additional information on the Fall Film Series, "Manifestations of 'Noir,' " contact Dr. Chadwell at 326-2471 or schadwell@tamiu.edu or Dr. Nichols at 326-2610 or wnichols@tamiu.edu.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu