Filmmaker Gerry Maguire introduces a new series of sci-fi screenings where cult classics set in 2019 have become our DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The series opens with BLADE RUNNER – THE FINAL CUT at Regent Street Cinema (23 APR 19:30).
By GERRY MAGUIRE
I always remember the scene in MINORITY REPORT when a very smug looking Tom Cruise (no, even more smug than that) rolls a ball along the table for his visitor to catch before it falls on the floor.
“Why did you catch it?” he asks.
“Because it was going to fall”, he answers.
“Ah but it didn’t”, comes the reply.
I’ve always felt this scene, with its implication of the human ability to affect our fate through foresight, was such an apt metaphor for the sci-fi genre as a whole. Sci-fi has offered us more visions of the future than are worth experiencing, and more than a few that we wouldn’t want to experience. Utopian, dystopian or…something in between, there’s a certain fascination in depicting how things could be if we followed certain paths.
Released in 1982 but set in 2019, BLADE RUNNER has spawned such a cult appreciation that it bears little value for me to dissect it again here. Still, I think I can say with some certainty that Ridley Scott’s cinematic vision of Philip K Dick’s original story has stood the sci-fi test of time, in managing to remain keenly relevant despite its age, keeping that fascination alive for how things could be.
As we move forward into our own future, the related technologies of robotics and AI which inform the vision of the Replicant in BLADE RUNNER seem to edge ever closer to reality. Today, our robots can climb stairs and open doors. Our prosthetics are becoming bionic. Our AI can beat us at our most randomised games. While we’re still a long way off from marrying these things together, there’s an increasing discourse about what we should and shouldn’t do with these technologies, as well as a slightly less exciting but equally important conversation about the ethical and existential questions our adoption of these technologies will raise.
At our upcoming screening of BLADE RUNNER – THE FINAL CUT at Regent Street Cinema, we’ll be exploring all this as part of a special introduction by Owen Holland, professor of cognitive robotics at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex, and we’ll be continuing the conversation post-screening with a panel session on the themes raised by the film, with a chance for audience Q&A, of course.
But its not just BLADE RUNNER – it just so happens there’s a number of cult classics set in 2019, and our plan is to show them all as part of a short series of cinema screenings we’re calling DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (totes original). Look out for screenings later this year of the astounding anime classic AKIRA (featuring eerie references to the Japan 2020 Olympics), and reality TV precursor THE RUNNING MAN, starring Arnold Schwarzenneger and Maria Conchita Alonso.
You can follow the DAYS OF FUTURE PAST series via its Facebook page here, or look out for more announcements on RADIANT CIRCUS in the coming months.
DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
BLADE RUNNER – THE FINAL CUT d. Ridley Scott, 1982/2007 screens at Regent Street Cinema with an introduction by Professor Owen Holland (23 APR 19:30).
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