Indy Film Talk: A Blade Runner trilogy (sort of)



A beloved cultural landmark in Boston, the Coolidge Corner Theatre is one of the most prominent non-profit independent cinemas in the country. In 2011, the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation received a $150,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to expand its Science on Screen programming to independent cinemas nationwide.

IU Cinema is one of the 32 lucky theaters to receive a grant to pair screenings of classic, cult and documentary films with introductions by experts in the fields of science, technology and medicine. Past screenings have included The Wild Child with linguist Judy Shepard-Kegl, Fight Club with biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham and The Day the Earth Stood Still with roboticist Dennis Hong. 

This weekend’s selection is a classic — Ridley Scott’s futuristic thriller, Blade Runner. IU professor emeritus Richard H. Durisen will introduce the film on Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. With a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Princeton and extended research leaves as NASA-Ames Research Center, Durisen is the real deal — and he’s bound to have an interesting take, given his long-standing interest in science fiction films.

Durisen will also lead a discussion after the screening. And there is plenty to discuss. Very loosely based on a novel by renowned sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner is a neo-noir picturing a dystopian future Los Angeles. In this rain-swept, adrenaline-soaked atmosphere, detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunts down four “replicants” on a killing spree. Genetically altered humans with superior strength and intelligence, these replicants are determined to meet their maker, Dr. Eldon Tyrell, and reprogram themselves for longer lifespans.

As he is wont to do, Scott released multiple versions of the film, all of which you can see this weekend. For my money, the final cut is the best. It's leaner, grittier and more energetic — and the only version over which Scott had complete editorial control. Changes include the removal of Deckard’s hardboiled voice-over and the studio-imposed happy ending.

All three versions — the 1982 original, 1992 director’s cut, and 2007 final cut — will screen Saturday at 3, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., respectively. Tickets are $3. 


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