In sad news, Blade Runner production designer Lawrence Paull passed away on 10 November aged 81. Along with Syd Mead, David Snyder and Ridley Scott, he was instrumental in creating the dystopian vision of Los Angeles in November 2019. A prescient world of incessant rain, neon and murderous replicants, it’s one of my personal favourites.
Nominated for an Academy Award (Best Art Direction-Set Decoration) for Blade Runner, Paull won the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design for the film, which was based on the Philip K. Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” In a statement, Scott said, “I was always struck by his staunch and faithful support of the strange plan for the unique world of ‘Blade Runner.‘”
Outside of Blade Runner, his portfolio included many successful films from the 1980s including the time-travelling Back to the Future starring Michael J Fox and jungle caper Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. He also worked on on City Slickers, W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, Blue Collar, Escape from L.A., Harlem Nights and Naked Gun 33-1/3: The Final Insult.
Spanish cinematography Enrique Pacheco has put together a beautiful montage of natural and man-made monuments, Made on Earth. Filmed over two years in far-flung locations including Iceland, Estonia, USA and Spain, it’s breath-taking and is currently one of Vimeo’s Staff Picks.
What set me back was just one part of the film, which powerfully struck me as reminiscent of a scene from Blade Runner. Here are two sample frames, with Blade Runner first and Made on Earth second.
Perhaps it wasn’t Enrique Pacheco’s intention to echo Blade Runner, but it’s there nevertheless and the advancement towards Ridley Scott’s dystopia is striking. In Made on Earth, there’s a second scene immediately after the one above which further references the chimney stacks and flares of Blade Runner. Watch the full video to see how it links in at around 2:09.
Blade Runner image from BladeZone‘s image archive.
In “Blade Runner Revisited”, François Vautier has produced an experimental homage to “Blade Runner”, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir classic. In creating the film, François ripped 167,819 frames from the “Final Cut” version and digitally pasted them together, making a single image roughly 60,000 pixels square. In digital camera terms, it’s 3.6 gigapixels.
Much of the film involves floating above this giant image, zooming in on key events from the film accompanied by soundtrack and vocals from the film itself. It’s quite stunning and slightly overwhelming, but definitely worth 4 minutes of your time.
You might want to check out some of this other films, including the ant farm in his scanner….