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May 1996, Week 5


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Murray Pomerance <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 26 May 1996 12:43:34 -0400
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David Desser's extremely polite letter about BLADE RUNNER should win an
award for Understatement of 1996.  As a person who has not, to date,
written about this interesting film, I find the reference-free hacking at
thought I often come across here really irritating, and I don't feel it's
necessary to be soft-spoken in saying this.  Desser is more than right in
suggesting (urging) that we should do our homework.  Cinema studies is a
field of inquiry in which many earnest and thoughtful people have
worked--worked, that is, labored.  While on the one hand I want to
recognize popular taste and the direct sensation that comes with viewing
a film without "academic" preparation; on the other I thoroughly reject
the half-baked notion that film is something anybody can talk about, and
a field in which everybody who pays the bucks is an expert.  Something,
after all, is on the screen--regardless of what else might be in the
viewer's imagination.  And those who have seen a film ten or twenty or a
hundred times, carefully, and who have pained to write about it, should
at the very least be taken just so seriously as we'd taken any other
person who'd "been there, done it" a little more than we had.
Perhaps the answer to Desser's puzzlement is that we have no longer any
respect for anyone who's done anything beyond the boundaries of our
selves.  Life has become utterly personal, which is to say, monadal.  The
common religion is Vonnegut's Bokononism, a kind of neo-rococo solipsism,
in which, when I see BLADE RUNNER for the first time, I literally invent
it, create it for myself, by myself, and unto myself.
Of course, one of the things I personally find interesting about BLADE
RUNNER as a modernist text is that this solipsism is basically absent
from it; and so I really do not understand at all how those who now, in
Desser's terms, invent the film afresh with no history can possibly grasp
what it says.
Murray Pomerance
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