Université de Rouen

Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines

Département d’Anglais






A philosophical reading of blade runner



Mémoire de maîtrise

Christophe Gauthier

Sous la direction de M. Philippe Romanski


Membres du jury :

M. Philippe Romanski

Mme Françoise Clary

Année Universitaire 2001-2002








1.1.At a Loss, Questioning Blade Runner

1.2.At pains, Questioning Blade Runner

1.3.The Question of the Whole


2.1.Roy’s Guilty Conscience

2.2.The ‘Eye/I’ Questions

2.3.Unknotting the ‘Knot/Not’ of the Hypostasis’ Circle

2.4.Patience and Passivity


3.1. In The Wake of the Other — Blade Runner as a ‘Haunting/Hunting’ Language

3.2.E-Motion — Stepping Out to the Other

3.3.Eyes Wide Shut — The Divination of Enigma






‘Un livre, même fragmentaire, a un centre qui l’attire : centre non pas fixe, mais qui se déplace par la pression du livre et les circonstances de sa composition. Centre fixe aussi, qui se déplace, s’il est véritable, en restant le même et en devenant toujours plus central, plus dérobé, plus incertain et plus impérieux. Celui qui écrit le livre l’écrit par désir, par ignorance de ce centre. Le sentiment de l’avoir touché peut bien n’être que l’illusion de l’avoir atteint ; quand il s’agit d’un livre d’éclaircissements, il y a une sorte de loyauté méthodique à dire vers quel point il semble que le livre se dirige’. Here, it will point to the figure of the circle.

Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL
advanced Robot evolution
into the NEXUS phase - a being virtually
identical to a human - known as a Replicant.

The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior
in strength and agility, and at least equal
in intelligence, to the genetic engineers
who created them.

Replicants were used Off-world as
slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and
colonization of other planets.

After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6
combat team in an Off-world colony,
Replicants were declared illegal
on earth - under penalty of death.

Special police squads - BLADE RUNNER
- had orders to shoot to kill, upon
detection, any trespassing Replicant.

This was not called execution.
It was called retirement.








The quest for Being is an essential questioning in modern philosophy. Yet, this very attempt to unveil an ontological truth cannot but raise numerous issues. Man, as a thinking substance, engages in a deep reflection which aims at reaching the Absolute. This reflection entails a specific vision of Man and the world.

This, our study shall try to examine — the reaction of the mind facing the manifold heaviness of Being, as well as the consciousness of Being, as an intellectual effort resulting in metaphysical anguish.

Indeed, we will ponder the following questions : how far does our certainty of Being go ? The quest for Being is written in time whereas the ideal of human existence dwells in the desire of eternity. Such an incompatibility therefore points to the aspiration of consciousness as a nostalgia of Being.

Is the nostalgia of Being the outcome of our thirst for Absolute or is it the by-product of man’s inability to define Being ?

Is metaphysical anguish the result of man’s awareness of his finitude or is it ascribable to the limits of Reason ?

The uncertainty of Being introduces a gap and opens the narrative. Science fiction is all the more concerned with a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ since its narrative is relocated within an elsewhere, the latter granting space for reflection. The entailing disquietude of an unfamiliar location will lead us from ipseity to alterity.

The resulting call towards alterity is thus dependent upon a Statement. The insight of Otherness is first achieved through the eye. We shall thus try to disentangle the theme of vision in Blade Runner, to develop the structure of cinema as a place of reminiscence, as a means to find a way towards the Open, as Rilke stated it.

As a vital lead, the themes of memory and desire will implicitly guide our exploration, like Orpheus descending, on his way to find his Eurydice.

A phenomenological approach to the quadripartite philosophy of Heidegger, Levinas, Blanchot and Derrida and its relation to Blade Runner will thereby prove necessary if we want our study to reach a successful conclusion.










QUESTIONING blade runner

Zhora : are you for real ?









Questioning blade runner

At a loss, questioning Blade Runner


The quest for Being fits in with Blade Runner through philosophical reflection. Man, with his capacity for thought, responds with all his might to the universe. Indeed, the science fiction narrative unfolds in a time of dismay, of an interplay between author, text and reader. This time of dismay is also that of essential questioning.

This reaction opens up the quest for Being. It is the first step on a path that will allow man to find his position in relation to God and the world. It goes without saying that this attempt shall bring forth the feeling of a gap, itself entailing metaphysical anguish. Indeed, the man who becomes fully aware of his essence can thereby figure out the many facets and constraints bound to his condition. Man’s reflection rests upon two different entities, namely the object and Being. This is underlined through Blanchot’s study of the deepest question as opposed to the question of the whole. Through this questioning, Man realizes he

can overcome and master the object but that the latter cannot bring an answer to some of his questions. Man desires another truth which is not that of sensible certainty — he longs for a fullness of Being. Thereupon, consciousness takes over from thought and wonders about the gap of this overwhelming ‘presence-absence’.

More specifically, the Voigt-Kampff test stands for the deepest question — Replicants are required to answer questions which seem to be nonsensical. Their whole life is jeopardized through this odd questioning. Unable to pass such a test, they can only ‘replicate’ Holden’s questions, thus relying upon a Socratic-like debate. Doing this does not get them anywhere and fleeing appears as the best compromise as they want to save their lives. Blanchot states it perfectly as he writes : ‘La fuite où nous attire la question profonde transforme l’espace de la question en une plénitude vide où, obligés de répondre sur notre tête à une question vaine, nous ne pouvons ni la saisir, ni lui échapper’. The Replicants’ flight comes within the scope of wandering within a system of objects. It is equally narrowly connected to our concern with questioning. For instance, we can watch Zhora as she tries to flee from Deckard. The scene of her escape is a tangle of various items and sounds.

Strangely enough, the reader-spectator partakes in the same dismay suggested through the polysemy of objects and even sounds. This reminds us of the heideggerian theory of Verfallen and Geworfenheit in Sein und Zeit. These terms characterize the facticity of Dasein, of Replicants, as projects thrown into the world, and whose origin and destination are denied. As a result of this estrangement, Dasein flees and finds shelter in the comforting world of Verfallen. This action of diverting and turning round is not the work of the Replicants’ will, it stems from the fact that Dasein is being shifted around from one being to another, in an uneasy restlessness that Heidegger calls wandering, which is a fundamental mode of being, through which Dasein, losing sight of mystery, that is to say, the dissimulation of being as a whole, is insistent with the being found in the horizon of daily life concern. Wandering, Man confines his view to the being that can at once be found in his proximity and is diverted from what makes possible such a conjunction. On that point, Blanchot adds:

‘Dans tous les grands mouvements où nous ne sommes qu’à titre de signes interchangeables, la question panique est là, nous désignant comme n’importe qui et nous privant de tout pouvoir de question. Dans une foule notre être est celui de la fuite.’

Clearly enough, the transparency of the glass Zhora breaks through in her flight is not a positive one. It is not the open space of questioning. Rather, it is the flight from questioning. The transparency of the glass is not even a place where she could find shelter out of sight. Still according to Blanchot,

‘La fuite panique est ce mouvement de dérober qui se réalise comme la profondeur, c’est-à-dire comme ensemble qui se dérobe et à partir de quoi il n’y a plus de lieu pour se dérober […] La fuite est l’engendrement de l’espace sans refuge.’

Indeed, flight makes every thing stand as if it were everything, it makes the whole of things erect neither as a safe order where we could find shelter, nor as a hostile one against which one has to fight, but as the action that conceals and slips away.

The Voigt-Kampff test unveils the crucial aspect of affective moods in Blade Runner and reshapes them into questioning. This is the experience of foundation which is here at stake. The naïve thematics of illusion and reality is reformulated, superseded in Blade Runner with the concept of the uncertainty of being. It is the theory of holding and carrying, of the ‘Getragenheit’ that is put into question. The experience of a ground giving way — the flight of Replicants — questions the certainty of reality. The primary perception of reality would thus amount to the

experience of hostility in front of life and its limitations. Hostility in front of strangeness and hurdles, just like Zhora seems to be threatened by Deckard, chasing and pressing her to a flight riddled with obstacles. These very hurdles are items asking to be overcome. The rigidity of the question of the whole must be passed through a violent test. A deeper kind of questioning has to be revealed through this violent experience. The Voigt-Kampff test debunks all illusion of certainty and prevents any possibility of support, allowing for nowhere to flee and hide. To Zhora, items are as many opportunities to catch herself in time during her flight. Her death is eventually a reminder that this experience is a dangerous relation to alterity. As we will see in our next chapter, alterity resists all attempt of assimilation and can only result in the deepest separation — death.

This experience of a foundation that slips away is the revelation of the question of Being, a ground gradually crumbling as this question gets closer to the Origin and whose lack of answer is a chasm, a beyond still unthought that would substitute itself for the foundation of reason. This robbing foundation is a harbinger to Deckard, the first flicker of doubt with regards to his certainties. This time of cowardice when all principle and foundation seem to vanish is the occasion, the decisive glimpse of some soul-searching. Deckard’s intentionality of consciousness, Deckard’s will to eliminate Zhora, then reverts into reflection — Zhora, as a Replicant, reflects Deckard’s consciousness.



The Voigt-Kampff test invalidates the apriorism of Getragenheit and disables the ‘holding sensation’ of certainty. It relocates questioning in emptiness, thus stirring an insecure feeling that no answer could quell. The Voigt-Kampff test ultimately stumbles over a fugacity of Being. The ‘holding sensation’ of happy moods is nowhere to be felt in Blade Runner, the work putting all the emphasis upon the absence of a foundation and vying to theorize about the sense of loss. Still, Blade Runner does not only insist upon the mere loss of a foundation, but also stresses a wavering between security and insecurity, a sense showing through moods as well as a double temporality. A first temporality turns upon anxiety, obliging man to a restless resumption of questioning and underlining the temporary, transient condition of Replicants. More than flight, it is the calling into question by uncertainty as well as the necessity of decision-making which is specific to Replicants. Flight occurs with the lapse of memory, the lack of a past that could offer some stability, a temporal continuity which could alleviate the Replicants’ relentless flight as thrown pro-jects. Replicants make up for the non-holding sensation of an absent past with a increased tension towards a future.

The Voigt-Kampff test is not only meant to identify a gamut of sentiments but rather focuses upon affective moods, which pass through the subjects undergoing such a test and constitute the most passive, fundamental ground. Whereas sentiments are bound to an object, the unintentionality of affective moods reveal the close connection between consciousness and exteriority. The unspecified, uncertain nature of such moods, the lack of a foundation, of a supporting ground for questioning, are as many favourable instances for the matching of the Self into reality, as many un-locations propitious to self-knowledge. Self-knowledge occurs in the exteriority of un-location, of the unfamiliar or rather, of the strangely familar, the Elsewhere of questioning.

The authentic self-care, the insecurity conveyed by the Voigt-Kampff test, opposes the intentionality of a contents of consciousness, of a questioning designed to an object. The nonsense and the strangely familiar dimension of the Voigt-Kampff ‘s questionnaire relocate the question into emptiness. Paradoxically, Replicants undergoing such a test are awakened to a staggering reversal. The contradiction of the Voigt-Kampff test has to do with the double action of revealing and concealing — the established order of techno-scientific knowledge ; the intentionality of consciousness must be reversed into reflection and pursuit of a cause, in this case their origin, and this very search can only happen in exteriority.

The music of Blade Runner partakes of this self-care — it is in harmony with a mood, a tune that stands aloof between Replicants and their environment. Musics in Blade Runner get together as Replicants find a cohesion with themselves. The Replicants’ integration into the world of Blade Runner is thus dependent upon their self-cohesion. The wistful thinking of separation, the Replicants’ longing for their origin, their humane craving for a return to the roots, is thus conveyed through Blade Runner’s music, through the expression of an infinite sorrow. Blade Runner’s music also echoes the Replicants’ deepest identity, that is, the other separative thought of ‘différance’. The relevance of the Replicants’ identity amounts to the ‘out of phase’ of transcendence. Dasein, as a thrown project, is always both ‘already there’ and ‘thrown before’. Only Angst, the experience of trembling affecting Roy, makes up the connection between the two. In their quest for an Origin and an End, Replicants find their own foundation giving way beneath their feet. This experience is therefore that of essential questioning, of the unquestionable.

The Voigt-Kampff test thus happens to be a means by which to measure affective moods and focuses upon the body, more accurately upon the eye, so as to detect every reaction to the test. More than the systematic tracking of Replicants, it stands for a yardstick by which to measure the subject’s appropriateness to the world. This assessment thus focuses upon the subjects’ cohesion with themselves. Then, the flight from oneself first goes through a coming back upon oneself. In this way, the scrutinized body has to obey an imposed passivity. The Voigt-Kampff test thereby tries to snatch from the tested subjects emotions that could betray their own identity. This results in a sense of insecurity, the sensation of being chased, thus pressing Replicants to a flight. The fact remains that the body is not a monad enclosed upon itself, that it holds the possibility of an opening. To the Replicants, affective moods are just a first attempt at attuning themselves to the world of Blade Runner.

The wrong apprehension of transcendence through knowledge, through the question of the whole, is a danger to Replicants. As they intend to escape offworld slave colonies, as they long for a safe condition on earth, a coming back to their roots, Replicants paradoxically get stuck in this double exile. This situation results in a bewildering condition, owing to to the lack of a positioning with regards to their identity. Replicants are looking for inspiration, a means to find a place of their own. This meets another lack — this first impulse towards the Other is delayed. The double exile of Replicants offers no decisive place to meet the Other. A resolution has to be found with the Replicants’ journeying. In their flight, Replicants are led to the ‘sightseeing’ of places. This can bring about a better self-positioning of their ‘I’. ‘Eyes’ are moreover the landmarks of such locations. The decisive location of self-knowledge is thus the experience of pain in Blade Runner . The fact that Replicants put out the eyes of human beings so as to kill them is not a mere coincidence. Eyes reveal as much as they conceal. The asceticism of pain is a medium of confusion and lucididity.

To the spectators, Roy equally stands for a question that seems to flee before us, being essentially a figure of Otherness, the embodiment of the Sphinx, half-human, half-beast, assuming the features and behaviour of an animal (Roy imitates the cry of a wolf). He is also the one who asks questions — as a leader of his fellow Replicants, he is the question of the question. Indeed, every Replicant asks questions, the deepest ones ( ‘How much have I left to live ?’, ‘Have you ever retired a human by mistake ?’) These very questions, moreover, seem to escape the characters that are put to such a test — Roy looks for, then questions Chew, J.F. Sebastian, Tyrell and finally, Deckard. We do not know whether these characters essentially escape, that is, if they survive, for it seems these questions keep their life in suspense and foreshadow their sentence of death. Regarding this question mark, the movie remains ambiguous.

Obviously, human existence gives birth to numerous question marks. Life, like philosophy is the ground for an essential questioning. And this is especially relevant when pondering over the nature of literary creation : embedded structures of illusion and reality, which underline uncertainty concerning life or the act of creation. Humanity is caught in a maze of questions to be answered, but we are not allowed to penetrate the secrets of divine creation.

Deckard comments :

Deckard : All they’d wanted were the same answers the rest of us wanted, where have I come from ? Where am I going ? How long have I got ? 

Roy addresses his creator as he kills him :

Roy : I’ve done … questionable things.

Tyrell : Also extraordinary things. Revel in your time.

Roy : Nothing the god of biomechanics wouldn’t let you into heaven for




At pains, questioning Blade Runner — Angst as a prior, violent question towards Authenticity


The experience of a slipping foundation questions the capacity for truth of the self, and this very capacity matches that of long-suffering through time lasting. The subject’s maturity finds its completion through ageing, a data still out of reach to the Replicants — or on the contrary redoubled, owing to an accelerated decrepitude. Although experiencing pain many times throughout the movie, Replicants witness this painful experience as the impossibility for them to die. Pain aims at authenticating the Replicants’ existence. Whereas the experience of a lost foundation causes ontological certainty to collapse, the tension of risk, of the accident, relocates questioning into the unquestioned. It is an instance of the unpredictable whose enrichment through questioning is source of a reconciliation of the Self to the Other. The keeping at a distance, through flight, of this event, is a first danger threatening Replicants. The responsibility to take on is thus differed and will find a resolution in Chapter II. Blade Runner sets Replicants up as vehicles of such an incidence. The laying bare of Being is carried out at the expense of a painful questioning. The riddle symbolised by Replicants is thus a medium of visibility, a revelation of the deepest question.

Blade Runner conveys the secretive nature of death, an escaping issue that Replicants try to flee. This secretive aspect escapes all questioning, it is always in wait of a Statement, of a revelation one has to account for. The remaining part of the secret has to be disclosed at a decisive moment. The painful experience of Roy’s ‘not yet’ is in close connection with a heaviness of responsibility. The wait of a statement always in gestation, the weight of self-abnegation, is the painful withholding of a secret. It has to do with an essential indecision, the impossibility of sharing this pain finds an outlet in death. The decisive moment of death is always postponed, and the expected answer remains unanswered. The necessity of violence in this process justifies the scenes of fight in Blade Runner. Blade Runner’s fights bring about the possibility of a decisive encounter. Fights always bear the possibility of speech. Still, these fights always seem to get drowned under the flood of population, of a systematic environment. This pollution has to do with the notion of tolerance, a notion constantly delayed in Blade Runner. The tolerance of the other always offers a glimpse of the infinite, but it is drowned under an entropic system, smothered by the question of the whole. All the relevance of Blade Runner therefore dwells in its capacity to unveil death as the vanishing point of an infinite dialogue.

If pain is the experience of the impossibility to die — the sense of pain asserts life — it nevertheless foreshadows death. Roy’s self-inflicted crucifixion partakes of such a staging — the keeping at arm’s length of Roy’s proper death underlines a will to power, but, at long last, the resolution of will finds its alter ego in the resolution of death. Roy’s will to power, the choice of a decisive moment (‘not yet’) reverts into the possibility of the impossible — the indefinable and unpredictable aspect of death is an element that cannot be assimilated.

To Deckard, the synthetic threat of Replicants is a condition of a better self-knowledge. The dolorist view of Blade Runner, the threat to the body is an alternative to a systematic mind and its will to hegemony. The thought of incidence offers the possibility of some soul-searching to the Replicants whose irreducibility to a system is also a questioning to Deckard.

Should there be an assimilation, it would amount to understanding. We can thereupon appreciate the close connections intertwining pain with freedom. Through pain, the body opposes synthesis and opens up a better self-knowledge. The pain experienced by Replicants enables a coming out of a totalitarian system. Freedom is conditioned by a sense of danger. The thought of incidence, of the

accident, enables an opening onto a new possibility. As synthetic organisms, Replicants are supposed to experience pain as a piece of information, but the Replicants’ conception aims at perfection. Pain means information to Replicants but more, pain is subject to a representation issue. It accounts for a double process of authentication and falsification, as Deckard feels his gums before a mirror. The revelation of Deckard’s identity is thus ambiguous. Just as cinematic illusion is a portent of events to come, Deckard’s identity needs authentication and thus summons the spectator.

Angst, metaphysical anguish, is a first step in this quest for authenticity. It differs from fear inasmuch as it does not focus upon an object external to the subject experiencing it. Rather, it stems from the subject himself. Indeed, the question revealed through Angst is pervasive in Blade Runner. The film brings out the Angst of human consciousness that must go beyond itself so as to cover the path towards real knowledge — in every step of its history, human consciousness must fight over itself and realize what it formerly thought to be true is a mere misappreciation. Actually, and according to Hegel, this realization results in the loss of consciousness itself for, through this awareness, it loses its truth. This path is therefore the path of doubt, or more exactly despair.

Hegel states in The phenomenology of Spirit that if human consciousness forces itself, it is not through any external means :




‘Ce qui est limité à une vie naturelle n’a pas, par soi-même, le pouvoir d’aller au-delà de son être-là immédiat ; mais il est poussé au-delà de cet être-là par un autre, et cet être-arraché à sa position, est sa mort. Mais la conscience est pour soi-même son propre concept, elle est donc immédiatement l’acte d’outrepasser le limité, et quand ce limité lui appartient, l’acte de s’outrepasser soi-même […] La conscience subit donc cette violence venant d’elle-même […] Dans le sentiment de cette violence, l’angoisse peut bien reculer devant la vérité, aspirer à conserver ce que la perte menace.’

Hegel therefore sees Angst as the feeling of consciousness that must do violence to itself. This aspect is thoroughly developed in Blade Runner. The theme of violence is indeed narrowly connected to the experience of one’s existence, of feeling one’s reality. In Blade Runner, the scenes featuring fights are meant to introduce an essential questioning. The very first words uttered in Blade Runner are questions demanding answers. Indeed, this is a police questioning between Holden (the cop) and Leon (the Replicant). Despite our expectations, the questions give rise to other ones, thus entailing the calling into question of what has just been asked before :

Holden: Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Leon: Sure.

Holden: One-one-eight-seven at Hunterwasser.

Leon: That's the hotel.

Holden: What?

Leon: Where I live.

Holden: Nice place?

Leon: Yeah, sure I guess--that part of the test?

Holden: No, just warming you up, that's all.

Leon: Oh. It's not fancy or anything.

Holden: You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of the sudden-

Leon: Is this the test now?

Holden: Yes. You're in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down-

Leon: What one?

Holden: What?

Leon: What desert?

Holden: It doesn't make any difference what desert, it's completely hypothetical.

Leon: But how come I'd be there?

Holden: Maybe you're fed up, maybe you want to be by yourself, who knows? You look down and you see a tortoise, Leon, it's crawling toward you-

Leon: Tortoise? What's that?

Holden: Know what a turtle is?

Leon: Of course.

Holden: Same thing.

Leon: I've never seen a turtle. [ pause ] But I understand what you mean.

Holden: You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back Leon.

Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden, or do they write them down for you?

Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping.

Leon: What do you mean I'm not helping?

Holden: I mean, you're not helping. Why is that Leon? [ pause ] They're just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response. [ pause ] Shall we continue? Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about: your mother.

Leon: My mother?

Holden: Yeah.

Leon: Let me tell you about my mother. [ shot fired ]

In point of fact, Leon only ‘replicates’ Holden’s question. We can see that this questioning is a violent one, questions are put bluntly and are to be answered quickly. Yet, these are relative questions and do not stand for an essential questioning. It is only an introduction to the thematics of the movie — right from the beginning we can see that Replicants are not any different from their creator. Their perpetual questioning is meant to underline their human nature. They are equally in search of answers as far as their existence is concerned. More exactly, we could state that Replicants are in search of answers whereas human beings have long forsaken this quest for meaning. Replicants are therefore playing the part of a mirror, they are in other words elements of reflexion / reflection towards humanity. Replicants indeed awake human beings to the lost sense of their condition. Such an awareness is blatant upon seeing Deckard feeling his gums before a mirror after his fight with Leon. We can therefore almost witness a reversal of condition between human beings and Replicants in the beginning of the movie.

The question of knowing who is really human in Blade Runner would not be complete, should we forget to state the importance of the term Blade Runner. What does Blade Runner mean ? It is indeed the job of Deckard personifying death to the Replicants, and what is death but time. Time is exactly what Replicants are looking for, but instead they are tracked by a Blade Runner personifying time. We can see that the movie is filled with paradoxes, but these paradoxes are to be worked out in the end of the movie with the meeting of Roy with Deckard.




Be that as it may, every Replicant as well as Deckard is concerned with Angst. There remains the assumption that man is all the more man since his Angst

is deep. The ‘in front’ of Angst is the world as it is. The threat does not spring from a being pertaining to the world, rather Dasein experiences Angst. According to Heidegger, the ‘in front’ of Angst is nothing and is nowhere : ‘ce qui menace est déjà là — et n’est pourtant nulle part, il est si près qu’il étreint et coupe le souffle — et n’est pourtant nulle part’. So, there must be something that causes anguish but one does not know what. Anguish is the anguish of something. It is turned towards the future, it is an expectation. Nevertheless, it is indeterminate and has no object.

Anguish is a way of opening up onto the world, it sets man at the crossroads of his possibilities, puts him in a situation of choice. He is sent back to a decision regarding the authenticity or inauthenticity of his life. Indeed, anguish underlines the inexorable finitude of life and obliges man to face it, or at least shows him the necessity of such an attitude. It stresses that man must accept his existence and drag himself away from distraction.

Deckard’s use of the ESPER system underlines his dereliction. Indeed, we could view Deckard’s apparent lack of concern as a diversion from his essential being-in-the-world.







Deckard: Enhance 224 to 176. Enhance, stop. Move in, stop. Pull out, track right, stop. Center in, pull back. Stop. Track 45 right. Stop. Center and stop. Enhance 34 to 36. Pan right and pull back. Stop. Enhance 34 to 46. Pull back. Wait a minute, go right, stop. Enhance 57 to 19. Track 45 left. Stop. Enhance 15 to 23. Give me a hard copy right there.

The philosophical notion of distraction is closely akin to the idea of babbling triggered by Roland Barthes :

‘On me présente un texte. Ce texte m’ennuie. On dirait qu’il babille […] impératif, automatique, inaffectueux, petite débâcle de clics […] : ce sont les mouvements d’une succion sans objet, d’une oralité indifférenciée, coupée de celle qui produit les plaisirs de la gastrosophie et du langage. […] rien d’autre que cette adresse […] seulement un champ, un vase d’expansion. […] et ce texte-babil est en somme un texte frigide, comme l’est toute demande, avant que ne s’y forme le désir , la névrose.’

The world of Blade Runner is just like ours, it seems to feature a whole mess of items — among which most relevant are photographs from which man has to make the most of it.

Roy : Did you get your precious photos ?

Let’s call this whole tangle of items the system of objects. This system appears as the ground for the characters’ existence in the movie. Their whole life indeed rests upon what they consider as evidence of their being-in-the-world. Replicants try to assert their humanity as they rely upon photographs which are merely mental constructions of their past and thereby of their history :

‘L’ Histoire est hystérique : elle ne se constitue que si on la regarde — et pour la regarder, il faut en être exclu […] Le temps où ma mère a vécu avant moi, c’est ça, pour moi, l’Histoire (c’est d’ailleurs cette époque qui m’intéresse le plus historiquement). Aucune anamnèse ne pourra jamais me faire entrevoir ce temps à partir de moi-même (c’est la définition de l’anamnèse) — alors que, contemplant une photo où elle me serre, enfant, contre elle, je puis réveiller en moi la douceur froissée du crêpe de chine et le parfum de la poudre de riz.’

That is history for Roland Barthes and history for the Replicants of Blade Runner. Replicants are perfect ‘skin jobs’, they look like human beings, they talk like them, they even have feelings and emotions — in science fiction the ultimate sign of humanity. What they lack is a history. For that they have to be killed. Seeking a history, fighting for it, they search for their origin, for that time before themselves.

Does Rachael succeed in her attempt ? She has a document — as we know, the foundation of history. Her document is a photograph, a photograph of her mother, hugging her, a child, against her. History is hysterical ; it is constituted only if we look at it, excluded from it. That is, my mother before me — history.

Leon is dismayed by questions revolving around his history :

Holden : Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about: your mother.

Leon: My mother?

Holden: Yeah.

Leon: Let me tell you about my mother. (shot fired)

Leon is in a situation from which he can’t find shelter in his memories. We could assume he hasn’t been endowed with memories of a time before himself. But more than that, his position is that of dereliction. The shot that is fired echoes in our memory so as to stress the emptiness of his situation. The unfortunate outcome of this police questioning is stated several times as if history would repeat itself. Indeed, we can find Deckard viewing the video of the incident as he flies his way between different locations in his ‘spinner’. Leon finds himself in a position where he cannot derive help from any object such as a photograph. The world is no longer a root to his actions. Hope and safeness are nowhere to be found.

In the same line of thought, Heidegger argues that our ontic feelings of anxiety testify to the ‘groundlessness’ of human existence, revealing an inescapable insecurity which he connects to the fact that our existential trajectories, the life-projects, roles and identities that define who we are, have ‘always already’ been shaped by a past that we can never get behind and head off into a future in which these self-defining projects will always be incomplete, as if cut short by a death we can neither avoid nor control. In Heidegger’s famous sentence we exist as a ‘thrown project’ : thrown out of a past we cannot get behind, we project ourselves into a future we can never get beyond. ‘Existence’ from the latin word ‘ek-sistere’ — to stand out — is this standing out into time, a temporal suspension between birth and death. Being deprived of such ground for action, Leon and other Replicants, are stuck in their condition of runaways. Their state of wandering does not point to a mere mistake — strangely enough, Replicants seem to grasp a deeper apprehension of life than most human beings in Blade Runner.

Considering the few human beings we have at hand in the movie, none of them seems to enjoy a vision of life that would go beyond ‘being-in-the-world’. Indeed, their primary comportment to ‘entities’ within the world is one of use. For instance, we can see that Gaff and Bryant are only concerned with their job, which consists in eradicating Replicants. Their whole world is obsessed with this concern, so much so that they are only left with things ‘present-at-hand’ which can be found at nearmost proximity. As an example, the only questions Gaff raises are relative ones as to the fact that death is a fate common to everyone — Replicant or not.

Gaff: You've done a man’s job, sir. I guess you’re through, huh?

Deckard: Finished.

Gaff: Its too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?

Only Deckard is awakened to a positive sense of dismay, that is, only when his position is reversed from the hunter to the hunted. Gaff’s question is not only here to cast doubt on Deckard’s identity — there indeed remains this assumption that Deckard could be an android created to train real policemen like Gaff, which would shed light upon the ironical statement ‘a man’s job’. Rather, Deckard seems at last to grasp the essence of his being, that is, Time. The primary concern he previously affected towards his job is changed at the end of the movie into an essential Care, which is the Being of Dasein, the real nature of human being.

With that being said, we can state the importance of the ESPER system in Blade Runner. The manipulation of photographs is an aspect of paramount importance in the movie. Not only does it stress the discontinuity of being but it also puts the emphasis upon the discontinuity of its representation — photographs are instrumental in Blade Runner. This whole act of scanning photographs as if searching one’s memory is relevant in that it indicates a quest for an Openness. We are invited to travel throughout the lines of video scanning as if we would be invited to make sense between the lines of a text. Most relevant is the figure of the glass : scanning the photograph he has retrieved from Leon’s hideaway, Deckard first tarries upon the vision of a glass, but to no avail, there is no clue on this item.



Before proceeding further on, we should remember that glass is pervasive in the movie. For instance, we can see Zhora, wearing a transparent raincoat, shattering several windows before she dies, or we can see Deckard feeling his gums before a mirror or offering a glass of alcohol to Rachael. Nevertheless, this quest for transparency does not get us anywhere. The flight, the dissimulation of Zhora’s being is not an answer to the quest for an authentic Being.


Eventually, it is only upon a reflection in the mirror of the photograph that Deckard is allowed to carry his analysis to a successful conclusion.

It is indeed narrowly connected to the idea that Blade Runner is a movie about the communication of consciousness. This reminds us of Replicants playing a revealing part just like a developer is supposed to do with photographs. In fact, both photographs and Replicants are enlighteners. This is the revealing aspect of the Other which is at stake here, the remedy to the pervasive state of discontinuity.

Let’s write it again : this is the Care structure that works out the discontinuity of Being, as well as the discontinuity of representation. Truth, indicates the opening or the dawning of Being itself that allows Dasein to appear as it is and that enables representation to model itself on it.





The Question of the Whole : A Subversive One ?

The Derridean ‘ différance ’ questions us. It is equally narrowly connected to Levinas’ notion of ‘ imperialism of the Same ’. The introductory dialogue between Holden and Leon, which we have already discussed at the beginning of this study, also recalls the idea that it is the unity of the same that is questioned and at best, endangered. A basic ‘ difference ’ is put into question through Holden’s words.

Leon: Tortoise? What's that?

Holden: Know what a turtle is?

Leon: Of course.

Holden: Same thing.

To differ is not to be the same, and it equally amounts to a postponement. To take account of the notion of ‘ différance ’ is to debunk the illusion of presence. Still, the doubles, reproductions and other simulations resist such a reduction. When being carefully examined, these doubles always harm the identity that we thought was primary.

Indeed, such a basic notion seems to come under the yoke of Holden, the latter being the warrant of Order in Blade Runner (isn’t Holden’s name specific in this regard ?). Interestingly enough, any dictionary defines a turtle as the encompassing term for tortoise, thus bringing grist to our mill : Holden’s definition is an attempt at assimilating Otherness into the Same. Nevertheless, this very attempt is kept at bay through Leon’s killing of Holden — there again, an ambiguity remains for we do not know whether Holden has survived. Still, we can state this attempt of assimilation is being contested and strongly opposed. And who could best enforce this opposition but Replicants, which are considered as replications but at the same time are being denied their right to difference — they are tracked down although their life-span is already limited. Replicants are fighting for their right to difference.

Besides, physical contention, that is, scenes featuring fights, as well as intellectual one — the game of chess between J.F. Sebastian and Tyrell, in which Roy interferes — is perhaps an embedded structure for another broader conflict, that is, an ideological one, which would be the preliminary condition to the occurrence of Derrida’s concern with ‘différance’.

Indeed, two systems of thinking are being opposed in Blade Runner — hence the relevance of fights between human beings and Replicants. Even Deckard saves his words, he simply tracks down Replicants. Avoiding words, circumventing them, therein lies his interest. That seems to make sense as he works on the ESPER system, trying to bypass the façade of photography, zooming in and out, at last circumventing it and eventually finding evidence on the other side of the picture. In this case, his work recalls film-editing and its relentless motion and rhythm. The reader-spectator can here witness a real work of deconstructive reading.

Subversion can also be tainted with humour as is the case with Roy making a sexual innuendo : ‘No, knight takes queen, see. No good’. Disturbance of a well-established order is also adding to humour. Most interesting, though, is the continuation of the speech :

[Sebastian and Roy at chess board]

Sebastian: No, knight takes queen, see. No good.

Roy: Why are you staring at us Sebastian?

Sebastian: Because. You're so different. You're so perfect.

Roy: Yes.

A confirmation on J.F. Sebastian intuition as far as Roy’s identity is concerned can be found upon reading Jean-François Mattéi’s work entitled L’Etranger et le Simulacre 90 :

‘L’Etranger est un exilé, l’ Etranger est un parricide. Malgré une crainte sacrée, il n’hésite pas à porter la main sur son père Parménide. Et, de fait, cet homme dont on ne sait s’il est fils prodigue ou bâtard, ne porte pas de nom ou le cache soigneusement à ses compagnons. L’Etranger est un homme sans identité.’

Such a statement draws our attention to the fact that Tyrell would personify Parmenides whose offspring could then be Roy. This makes sense when pondering over Parmenides’ inclination of thinking — he formulates his fundamental proposal of ontology, which is : Being is one, continuous and eternal. In short, we could posit that this ideological contest features two schools of thinking divided on the nature of ontology. Human beings would be the disciples of Parmenides and monism, people concerned with the creation of things made in their own image. In this respect, Tyrell is viewed as a semi-God, elevated in the tallest building, his abode appears as the only one bathing in light so much so that he is obliged to draw a curtain as he receives Deckard. This sharply contrasts with the world of Blade Runner as a whole, with the teeming, down to earth, nocturnal life of the movie. On the other hand, Replicants are representatives of a dissemination of meaning whose nature is much more complex to understand for they can be viewed as the ‘differing’ re-plication, not the identical du-plication of human being. Their discontinuous state of being, as discussed earlier on, is at least a support for Deckard, whose siding of the contest is rather difficult to apprehend. Indeed, he is the embodiment of time, put it more simply he means death to the Replicants — he is the Blade Runner, although he is constantly challenged by them through their desire of eternity. Nevertheless, and we have already discussed it, Replicants awake Deckard to a sense of dismay, arising doubt in his mind, a doubt that is a first step towards the recognition of his authentic Being. Replicants are the warrants of the dissemination, multiplicity, plurality of beings, of difference as a whole and are the most aware of the ‘differing’ of their death sentence. They are being disseminated against their will. Strangely enough, through his process of re-collecting evidence for his investigation, Deckard is also led to re-establish a unity as far as multiplicity is concerned, deconstructing Leon’s photograph with the ESPER system. Deckard is required to make sense of what is left behind by Replicants, that is, physical evidence such as photography but also language in that Replicants are not only physical replications but also discursive ones : Roy makes use of an intertertext with Blake :

Roy: Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rode around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc.

Blake’s original lines being :

‘Fiery the Angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll’d Around their shores : indignant burning with the fires of Orc …’

In Blakean symbolism, the Angels were those with imaginative vision, working to bring humanity back to a sense of union, through an apocalypse of a kind.

Broadly speaking, Replicants play a revealing part which comes to echo the real ideological issue that is at stake throughout the movie : the space of Blade Runner is the representation of a wound, that something went wrong in the course of history regarding modern thinking, that is, the confusion within the concepts of ontic and ontological planes, between ontic and ontological differences. This points to a mistake that has generated conspicuous evils pervasive in Blade Runner : moral resentment — relevant in many ways — desire of eternity and political totalitarianism as a zeppelin watches over the population and imparts its propaganda :





Overhead blimp: A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure.

Sushi Master: Nan-ni shimasho-ka? [ Japanese for: ‘What would you like to have?’ ]

Overhead blimp: A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreational facilities ...

Overhead blimp: absolutely free... Use your new friend as a personal body servant or a tireless field hand - the custom tailored genetically engineered humanoid replicant designed especially for your needs. So come on America, lets put our team up there ...

Clearly enough, propaganda makes itself fully understandable whereas a simple sushi cooker speaks in a language we can hardly make out. And this is the case with Deckard, who has to repeat his words, muffled by the speech of the blimp, to eventually disagree with the cooker. The repetition of the blimp speaker is in sharp contrast with the redundancy of Deckard’s dialogue with the sushi master :




[‘give me four’ / ‘two must be enough for you’]

Sushi Master: ...akimashita, akimashita. Irasshai, irasshai. [pause] Sa dozo. Nan-ni shimasho-ka? [Japanese for: ‘Now you can sit here. Come on. Well, what would you like to have?’]

Deckard: Give me four.

Sushi Master: Futatsu de jubun desuyo. [Japanese for : ‘Two must be enough for you’]

Deckard: No, four. Two, two, four.

Sushi Master: Futatsu de jubun desuyo. [Japanese for : ‘Two must be enough for you’]

Deckard: And noodles.

Sushi Master: Wakatte kudasai yo. [Japanese for: ‘Please understand me.’]

Most philosophers have denounced this ideological overwhelming of the Same as a millstone around our necks and have shed all the light upon the concept of ‘différance’ — and this is relevant in Blade Runner through the scenes featuring crowds, the hearing of different languages, the question of identity as far as Replicants or human beings are concerned, and so on. Lyotard, in particular, views the demise of the great unifying ideals, be they political or religious ones, as the origin of the dissemination of meaning.

The ‘wound’ of modern thinking is this confusion of the notion of ‘différance’, it refers to the appropriation of Otherness by the Same through knowledge, this to the detriment of mystery whose essence is to remain secret. This shows in the same way through Blade Runner and Eyes Wide Shut — quoting Derrida :

‘De même le rôle joué dissimule sous le masque social l’authenticité du moi irremplaçable [Eyes Wide Shut], de même la civilisation de l’ennui produite par l’objectivité techno-scientifique dissimule le mystère [Blade Runner].’ (my brackets)

Still according to Derrida,

‘La civilisation de l’ennui produite par l’objectivité techno-scientifique dissimule le mystère : les découvertes les plus raffinées sont ennuyeuses pour autant qu’elles ne mènent pas à l’exacerbation du Mystère qui s’abrite derrière ce qui est découvert, derrière ce qui nous est dévoilé.’




- chapter ii -

the christian responsibility and the communication of awareness

‘L’être qui pense semble d’abord s’offrir à un regard qui le conçoit, comme intégré dans un tout. En réalité, il ne s’y intègre qu’une fois mort.’

(Emmanuel Lévinas, Totalité et Infini 47)








the christian responsibility and the communication of awareness

Roy’s Guilty Conscience

The question of Being is thoroughly concerned with the Heideggerian notion of Sein zum Tode : Roy’s authentic Being depends on self-denial, on an infinite renunciation that will enable him to reach a finite condition. The responsibility of the soul as self-aware of itself is Roy’s apprehension of death. His Being-to-Death is the condition of the communication of awareness in Blade Runner, of an ethical relationship to the Other. This experience of responsibility, when met with the measure of infinite goodness and utter self-denial, causes the re-emergence of a feeling of guilt. Such a feeling is almost palpable when Roy meets his creator. This can be viewed as a modern legacy of Adam and Eve’s falling from paradise : as a fallen angel, the guilt Roy experiences as he is confronted to Tyrell is reminiscent of the original sin. What is more, Roy is to Tyrell a ‘prodigal son’, thus echoing Levinas’ notion of filiation. The interpretation Derrida develops on the christian relationship between Abraham and Isaac can also be applied as far as Tyrell and Roy are concerned : the notion of sacrifice recalls Levinas’ un-self-ishness. This experience of the Schuldigsein (being guilty), of a sense of responsibility, of the original guilt, is intertwined with a sense of insecurity that is to be found amongst Replicants. This sense of insecurity is closely akin to Kierkegaard’s notion of Trembling, it has to do with the impossibility to define the origin and its repetition. As Derrida puts it,

‘Je tremble devant ce qui excède mon voir et mon savoir alors que cela me concerne jusqu’au tréfonds […] Tendu vers ce qui déjoue et le voir et le savoir, le tremblement est bien une expérience du secret ou du mystère, mais un autre secret […] vient sceller l’expérience invivable.’

Indeed, numerous symptoms of such a trembling, be they only physiological, are to be found in Blade Runner, such as Pris as she sits waiting for J.F. Sebastian amidst garbage, shivering under the rain, or even Deckard, several times during his fights against Replicants.

Roy’s guilty conscience is the uncertainty that retains the possibility of questioning. The not of his ‘not yet’ comes to say the aporia of a step beyond towards death. At the same time, it means the possibility of a departure from the heaviness of his being as a responsibility. The guilty conscience Roy presents to his creator is an attempt at a shared knowledge he has kept silent and secret for too long. This makes up a step towards a departure from his double burden of identity through time present. In that, it is instrumental in keeping Roy safe from wandering and irresponsibility and partakes of the same effort as Angst.

Roy’s ‘time ... enough’ is narrowly connected to his ‘not yet’, what Lévinas teaches us : ‘l’angoisse de la mort est précisément dans cette impossibilité de cesser, dans l’ambiguïté d’un temps qui manque et d’un temps mystérieux qui reste encore’. Lévinas states what seems to be most important to Roy : ‘il n’a plus de temps, c’est-à-dire ne peut plus porter nulle part ses pas mais va ainsi où on ne peut aller, étouffe ; mais jusqu’à quand ?’

In other words, the infinite relation of psychological time to the totality of a historical one is yet to be defined, developed. One should explain how the emergence of Roy’s consciousness departs from the impersonality of Being and how, after his death, through fecondity, his being escapes all assimilation in the totality of a historical time. The iteration of this historical time is to be found under the form of an infinite echo threatening the ‘I’, which cannot come undone with such a rumbling. In that can be asserted the need for a communication of consciousness.






The ‘eye/I’ questions

Such a responsibility towards a communication of consciousness therefore points to Levinas’ notion of ‘il y a’ (there is), which shares a lot with the Heideggerian idea of ‘es gibt’, though with a difference; Levinas views time not as an ontological horizon of the Being of Dasein, but as a mode of the beyond of Being (‘l’au-delà de l’être’), as a different means of thinking Otherness — it is neither an ecstasy (‘to be out of oneself’), where the Same becomes absorbed in the Other, nor a knowledge where the Other belongs to the Same, for these two relations would stumble over the death of the Other.

Levinas seems to be more concerned by the notion of a transcendent alterity, one that opens up time and is achieved through sexual difference and filiation. These figures are essentially pregnant in Blade Runner through the characters of Rachael and Tyrell. The scene featuring Roy on the brink of death, that is, Roy’s final glimpse of Mystery, is made possible by Deckard. But it is primarily the hypostasis of the I/Eye that makes up the first step towards freedom, towards the mastering of time. The ‘I/Eye’ is Roy’s first self-assertion and finds its continuation in Deckard’s ‘I/Eye’ :

Roy: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.



Eyes are of utter interest to the Replicants. They feel attached to them in numerous ways throughout the movie. The first person they track down is Chew, the engineer responsible for the design of their eyes. We can therefore postulate that they are not only tracing people, but that they more specifically search the origin of their existence, that is the birth of their consciousness, which Levinas erects as an hypostasis. This is especially emphasised through the following lines :

[Chew examines an eye under a microscope]

Chew: [???] [Chinese for: ‘Ha, ha! So beautiful.’]

Roy: Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rode around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc.

Chew: [???]. You not come here. Illegal. [pause] Hey. Hey. [???] Cold! Those are my eyes! Freezing!

Roy: Yes, questions.

Chew: Don't know -- I, I don't know such stuff. I just do eyes. Just eyes -- Just genetic design -- just eyes. You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes.

Roy: Chew, if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes. Questions.

[The hypostasis : Roy and Leon’s ‘I’ questions Chew’s Eyeworld]

As we can see, Replicants formulate questions that revolve around the figure of the eye (or put it differently their ‘eye/I’ questions). Such a fact is crucial in our study, it recalls Plato’s idea according to which the figure of the circle, and by extension, that of the eye, is a double-sided one — it is what is given to see : the appearance of a full, regular, homogeneous form enclosed upon itself, deprived of any ontological facet (what Plato calls the circle of the Same) and it equally is what does not appear, an unfathomable void hiding an invisible path (what Plato calls the circle of the Other). This is the path Replicants are looking for — already endowed with a mimetic sense of the human (they are actually designed to that end), they are craving to complete the missing part of their condition, to fill in the gap between the Same and the Other (and this is what Roy achieves with Deckard). Pondering over such a figure, Replicants try to make all the way back towards their creation.



Seeking a path towards their origin and their end, the introductory vision of an eye in the very beginning of the movie could thereupon make sense. The closeup on this eye is here to remind us that Replicants are probing the very centre of such a circle, that their flight is the winding in and out of the question. Such a statement is underlined through the scene featuring Roy rolling fake eyeballs in and out before his very eyes :

[Roy addressing J.F. Sebastian]

Roy: [Holds fake eyeballs up to his eyes, and speaks in a goofy chinese accent] We're so happy you found us.

The eye shows evidence of existence to the Replicants, so much so that Roy aims at Tyrell’s eyes to kill him :

[Roy kisses Tyrell on the mouth. Tyrell screams as his eyes are gouged out.]


This process of original identification would nevertheless prove incomplete and pointless, should Replicants withdraw upon themselves, thus encapsulating their being as monads stuck in a condition of solitude. Only Deckard is an outlet for such a gap, just in the same way that Rachael is to Deckard through the experience of love.

This very communication of consciousness is an attempt at freeing oneself from the solitude of being where being itself is stuck in its discontinuous state, and that is the case of Replicants whose group is constantly scattered. Solitude, as far as Replicants are concerned, does not account for a mere isolation , nor as the incommunicability of a content of consciousness, but as the indissoluble link between the being itself and its work of Being. As Levinas points out, to tackle the work of Being in its being is to enclose itself upon its unity and let Parmenides escape all the attempts of parricide his followers would be tempted to commit upon him.

Throughout the movie, the ‘eye’ is a perfect reminder of the ‘I’ — the first step towards the assertion of a being in the anonymous work of Being is only made possible through a departure from the self as well as a return to it. This is the condition to the making of identity — ‘par son identification, l’existant s’est déjà refermé sur lui-même; il est monade et solitude’. This process Levinas describes as a monist hypostasis, yet this is a first step towards freedom. Identity is not an harmless relation to oneself, it is a prior responsibility that stems from the present. Replicants in Blade Runner are already burdened with the heaviness of their self. Their eyes in the movie are constantly reminiscent of their proper ‘I’. It is at the same time a departure from and an arrival upon themselves. This question of identity is going round in full circle. Once again, their flight does not primarily get them anywhere. Being enclosed upon their selves as a material burden, they find themselves chained to their own being. Material existence is thereby the realm of the Same. Their being is incumbent with the responsibility for themselves. More, their being as Replicants presupposes a prior ‘replication’ of their self as being irremissibly ‘I’. Such a tautology furtherly points to an apparent aporia — the first freedom that is achieved through the hypostasis of the ‘Eye/I’ is still enthralled by the solitary vision of time, for, as Levinas puts it:

‘Le temps donné, hypostasié lui-même, expérimenté, le temps à parcourir à travers lequel le sujet charrie son identité, est un temps incapable de dénouer le lien de l’hypostase.’


Unknotting the ‘knot/not’ of the hypostasis’ circle — An outlet through the Statement

What is at work in Blade Runner is the impossibility to escape the materiality of the Self. Through time present, Replicants are oblivious of their past, they ignore history. It is especially relevant through the repetition of words.

In Blade Runner, words are wandering just like Replicants do — words repeating themselves in the movie come to echo a historical emptiness whose only outlet is Roy’s final speech, for ‘si je ne suis pas extérieur à l’histoire par moi-même, je trouve en autrui un point, par rapport à l’histoire […] en parlant avec lui […] Quand l’homme aborde vraiment autrui, il est arraché à l’histoire.’

The Replicants’ identity bond with temporality is also that of différance. What makes up the essence of Replicants is their temporal différance, ‘le déphasage de l’instant à l’égard de lui-même qu’est l’écoulement temporel : la différence de l’identique’ that would account for the deepest meaning of Roy’s ‘not yet’ while at the same time foreshadowing this subjective capacity of the out-coming of the Other (which will be developed in our next chapter).

This temporal différance entails gaps that can be filled in by the work of memory, a will to power inherent to Roy who wants to remember. Still, ‘il faut que dans la temporalisation récupérable, sans temps perdu, sans temps à perdre […] se signale un laps de temps sans retour, une diachronie réfractaire à toute synchronisation, une diachronie transcendante’. The opening up to alterity must be brought about at the expense of the retiring of representation for the Other escapes all representation I could impress on myself.

In their quest for an origin, Replicants are led to Tyrrell who cannot meet their demand, for this search for their origin and their end (‘Incept date ? How long have I got to live ?’) can only reveal the greatest severance, a beyond of Being that will find an answer not in temporization as an essence, but through the Statement.

In this regard, the groping around showing through Roy’s ‘questions!’ is already a Statement in gestation, gestation furthermore emphasised by the ‘not yet’ which comes to express the dithering resulting from the infinite of a diachronic separation and of which the experience of trembling is this impossibility to say — a slowdown of consciousness caused by the obsession of temporality.

It is Time, in other words Replicants, that emphasize the ambiguous nature of Being as an uncertainty. And this Statement would first of all stand for the ambiguity, the uncertainty of an enigma, what Roy’s words are teaching us at the moment of his confrontation with Deckard. Moreover, it is the confirmation of our postulate according to which Roy would potentially be a Sphinx longing for revelation. His ambiguous, unpredictable, enigmatic nature is what questions humanity. As opposed to the question of the whole, the most widely shared question of totality, Roy’s questions are the deepest, the ones that conceal and evade all explanation, thus giving rise to the infinite. The repetition of questions would therefore account for the rehearsal of an essential Statement. As long as the unknotting of the hypostasis’ knot is not complete, the questions at work in Blade Runner will only find the infinite echo of repetition as an answer, echoes of a historical void to the Replicants, who cannot reach for the ‘pré-originel absolument diachrone, irrécupérable par la mémoire et l’histoire’. Unanswered questions giving rise to the iteration of emptiness since this pre-original escapes all representation.

[Through their emptiness, Leon’s words repeat in infinite echoes, thus entailing their own repetition]

What ought to be said is the significance of Roy’s attitude on the threshold of death. This attitude, it is now plain to see, is that of a revelation of the Statement, but it is also tainted with the most essential passivity when Roy can finally close his eyes, put an end to questioning — his ‘eye/I’ no longer questions — and give birth to the deepest kind of ceasing, that of undeliberate expectation, infinite patience, long-suffering.

[Roy’s ‘eye/I’ no longer questions]

This form of ceasing is foreshadowed, foreboded upstream of the movie through outward signs such as weariness (mainly for Deckard) and trembling (Roy). Roy’s attitude, that of passivity, of the Statement, breathes inspiration into Deckard, unsettling him through his certainties, dismaying him, giving him to think.

This time of the Statement is the time when questioning fades to the benefit of a responsibility for the Other, a scene of inter-subjectivity where the Statement means the pre-original and transcendence.

Diachrony is this irretrievable, immemorial time imposing upon ourselves only as an absence, though nevertheless showing through Blade Runner’s music, contrapuntal to the picture, and which Maurice Blanchot describes in these words:

‘Des repères ou les traces, mémorial d’une rigueur qui ne s’impose plus à nous que comme souvenir ou comme absence et nous laisse, dans notre entente, toujours libres.’

The overstepping of one’s subjectivity to the benefit of a responsibility for the Other is the very fact of finding oneself again through self-renunciation, not even through the centrifugal search for an exit to the circle of the exchange (cf. scene featuring Zhora’s flight), not even through a centripetal search of an ontological circle, but through the breaking of such a circle, the unknotting of the hypostasis’ knot, of subjectivity as a ‘not’. It is only when self-ish-ness — subjectivity and circle of the exchange — is overcome that un-self-ish-ness can assert itself. Roy’s thirst for infinity (‘I want more life !’) can be quenched through this reversal. Roy’s double finitude (‘More human than human’; ‘a light that burns twice as bright’ but ‘also burns half as long’) will wind an outlet through a beyond of his essence, exceeded by the infinite relation to the Other, in this case, Deckard.

In Blade Runner, the theory of the trace asserts a displacement of the question. Roy and Deckard both lead an investigation based upon the collection of traces, hints, phenomena (the eye to Roy, numerous clues to Deckard). But this tracking down out of phenomena can only inescapably lead them to immanence and essence : Roy can only go round, come back to Tyrrell who proves powerless against his double finitude. The phenomenal tracking down of time can only stumble over the impossibility to give time. And this tracking down out of phenomena is epitomized through wandering. Rather, the origin and the end Roy craves that much for, would amount to the trace drawn out between the issuing from and the out-come of a Statement, the transcendent interstice that is to be found between Roy and Deckard’s faces.


In their quest for such a circularity, Replicants, more precisely Roy, still have a way-out. When he gives time, Roy emancipates from a give-and-take, reciprocal system — when he gives, he expects nothing in return. The un-self-ish-ness of such a gift is emphasised by Jacques Derrida :







‘Nous nous laisserons entraîner par ce mot de révolution. Il y va d’un certain cercle dont la figure précipite et le temps et le don vers la possibilité de leur impossibilité (…) le don doit rester anéconomique. Non qu’il demeure étranger au cercle, mais il doit garder au cercle un rapport d'étrangeté. Non pas impossible mais l’impossible. La figure même de l’impossible. Il s’annonce, se donne à penser comme l’impossible.’

The way out of such a give-and-take circle is the concern of another unconscious Replicant, Rachael, as she purposefully says:

Deckard: Shakes? Me too. I get 'em bad. [ clears throat ] It's part of the business.

Rachael: [ Crying... ] I'm not in the business. [ Pause ] I am the business.

The ambiguity concerning Deckard’s sentence adds much confusion. Is this to convey that Replicants stand for the very business ? At any rate, this is meant to underline the Replicants’ severing from the circle of humanity. The un-self-ish-ness of such a gift is a question mark for most of the Replicants who feel like castaways from this circle; it remains out of reach, they are hunted from it. In that, Replicants are elements of exteriority.

The gift of time can take place with a decisive condition, that of the paradoxical kierkegaardian momentum. It can only unfold with the condition of a wandering, an ‘extra-vagrance’, an inspired time of renunciation. Still according to Derrida:

‘La bonne inspiration est le souffle de la vie qui ne se laisse rien dicter parce qu’elle ne lit pas et parce qu’elle précède tout texte. Souffle qui prendrait possession de soi en un lieu où la propriété ne serait pas encore le vol. Inspiration qui me rétablirait dans une vraie communication avec moi-même et me rendrait la parole.’

There can be no better statement of Roy’s condition. The inspiration in his final speech is a vital one, it can stand for the only certainty : the communication of consciousness can be asserted with the condition that Roy should be reconciled with himself. And that is the main theme of the movie, the différance of his ‘not yet’ is also that of a search for inspiration. The Replicants’ flight in full circle is a delaying of this decision which only Roy is allowed to reach. Roy’s fight is essentially a means to find a place for himself, that is, unknotting the knot of his ‘not yet’, finding a way-out as far as the double heaviness of his Replicant’s being is concerned. And this very way-out finds its first attempt under the shape of language and its continuation with speech as the out-coming of the Other, teaching as the inspiration of the Other in the Same.

The tautology of the I irremissibly I and the apparent aporia it entails, finds, according to Blanchot, an outlet through the Statement, that is, language in its infinity:


‘Je suis contraint à une responsabilité qui non seulement m’excède, mais que je ne puis exercer , puisque je ne suis rien et que je n’existe plus comme moi. C’est cette passivité responsable qui serait Dire, parce que, avant tout dit, et hors de l’être (…), le dire donne et donne réponse, répondant à l’impossible et de l’impossible.’


Patience and Passivity

The thought of the purest passivity as a selfless, unintentional expectation, calling no return, is the prerequisite to the the out-coming of the Other. Lévinas views such an out-coming as an ‘inspiration’. It equally is a decisive moment of revelation to Deckard as he witnesses Roy’s death.

It is through this notion of passivity, that can be revealed the gist of our study. This essential passivity would mark the return to questioning, return which is an advent of Being to the Replicants. The restoration of an ancient order, that of questioning, and the opposition to a systematic state of mind would most matter to the Replicants. Roy’s ‘questions !’ finds an authenticity through passivity. This is confirmed by Emmanuel Lévinas,

‘Par là […] se fait pensable une relation avec le plus, avec le non-contenable, qui n’est pour autant pas moins que l’investissement par la pensée. Une patience de la question ainsi et enfin réhabilitée. De la question qui est relation avec ce qui est trop grand pour une réponse.’

Patience is the authentic gift of time. Patience is the length of time. It is only through patience that the gift can take the measure of time. The everlasting time of diachrony, of separation, can only find a counterpart in infinite patience, long-suffering. Through patience, time is given to assess the Other. It is the time of a decisive encounter, the place where in-difference and lack of concern for the Other can be worked out. Therein lies the Replicants’ identity as a revelation. Replicants, owing to their condition, find an outlet to temporality through infinite patience, through the un-differing of Time to the Other. The realization that the two can’t be thought apart is a great moment in Blade Runner, it is a moment when the spectator himself cannot be left aside and constitutes a deep revelation and epiphany for the latter — the sublime time of an ‘epokhé’, a glimpse of a coming out of time that only Art can convey.

At the same time, we find in this essential passivity the explanation to the disquieting look of the Replicants. Again, this is the revealing aspect of Replicants which is here at stake, the work of Replicants as a teaching element to human beings as well as an ending brought to violence in the movie. Thus, the Other can be welcomed in the Same, not just hammered inside, for as Lévinas states it, ‘si le Même peut contenir l’Autre, alors le Même a triomphé de l’Autre. Ici, avec le temps, l’Autre est dans le Même sans y être, il ´ y ª est en l’inquiétant.’

This out-coming of the Other echoes the territorial hospitality that is denied to the Replicants. Replicants are considered as strangers, elements of exteriority. Replicants are outcasts asking for a dialogue. This hospitality, this opening up to the infinite of the Other, presupposes a dialogue, an infinite speech. The mode of appearance of the Other in speech is hospitality ; the expressive means of alterity that gives the Self more than it can contain and whose idea of the infinite is the first uncertainty as well as an essential open-mindedness. Thus, Deckard’s uncertainty is that of a dis-may, the ceasing, ‘épokhé’ of a possibility inherent to the Self. A temporal suspension where the out-coming of the Other is the experience of teaching. Disquietude is precisely this experience of teaching, not through the Socratic maieutics of the Voigt-Kampff test, which stands for the violent hammering of egology, the idea according to which the Self is the origin of all knowledge. Rather, the disquieting experience of speech through patience points to the impossibility for the Same to take rest. The Same cannot contain the Other, but nevertheless finds an out-let through patience as Desire. The Voigt-Kampff test does not teach anything. Rather, it reveals what we already know whereas patience is the experience of the Other’s height. The irreducibility of Roy’s Otherness is what makes him inpossible to grasp for Blade Runners. Only Deckard is allowed to catch a glimpse of Otherness through patience.

The notion of passivity, of self-denial, of death as the patience of time is narrowly connected with Roy’s attitude on the brink of death and his ‘not yet’. Deckard’s passive attitude when Roy is dying is that of a ‘culpabilité sans faute et sans dette, en vérité une responsabilité confiée, et confiée dans un moment d’emotion sans équivalent, au moment où la mort reste l’exception absolue’. Deckard’s passive witnessing of Roy’s death is the experience of the unanswerable. It is the reassertion of the uncertainty of Being to Deckard as he outlives Roy.

The procrastination of Roy’s decisive encounter with Deckard, conveyed by Roy’s ‘not yet’, is experienced in the mood of patience, an event always on the verge of becoming present, but endlessly delayed, infinitely imminent. Roy’s processes is tinged with this essential passivity, it is an outlet to the double negativity of his being. It is only through the temporality of patience that he can depart from his identity as a diachronic separation, from the negativity of his double différance. In reference to the Cartesian metaphysical relation, Lévinas states this temporal discontinuity of Being :

‘Qu’il puisse y avoir ordre chronologique distinct de l’ordre ´ logique ª, qu’il puisse y avoir plusieurs moments dans la démarche, qu’il y ait démarche — voilà la séparation. Par le temps, en effet, l’être n’est pas encore ; ce qui ne le confond pas avec le néant, mais le maintient à distance de lui-même. Il n’est pas d’un seul coup. Même sa cause, plus ancienne que lui, est encore à venir.’

This patience as an ordeal towards a beyond of Being, that is, the Statement, is experienced as long-suffering, the impossibility for Roy to die. The reversal of violence as a means to assert one’s reality to the benefit of the Christian long-suffering is a responsibility to take on. It is a moment when tears are no longer evidence of an annoyance, but rather, are the expression of an intercession, an outward sign of a responsibility due to the out-coming of the Other. Roy’s tears are unmotivated and show an elevation towards a freedom which, ever since its origin, has proved difficult to take on. In its quest for an Origin, Roy’s processes find both an outcome — an exit to the figure of the circle through tears of the ‘I/Eye’ — and a temporal inversion towards freedom. The communication of consciousness as a Statement towards Deckard is a fulfilled responsibility that can allow Roy’s transposition into a carefree time of childhood. As Lévinas states it,

‘Il y a dans la souffrance […] ce retournement de l’activité du sujet en passivité. Non point dans l’instant de souffrance où, acculé à l’être, je le saisis encore, où je suis encore sujet de la souffrance, mais dans le pleur et le sanglot, vers lesquels la souffrance s’invertit ; là où la souffrance atteint à sa pureté, où il n’y a plus rien entre nous et elle, la suprême responsabilité de cette assomption extrême tourne en suprême irresponsabilité, en enfance. C’est cela le sanglot et par là précisément il annonce la mort. Mourir, c’est revenir à cet état d’irresponsabilité, c’est être la secousse enfantine du sanglot.’

The end of violence, Roy’s behaviour as a non-possessive acception of the Other, bring about an unexpected event. The communication of consciousness goes through the absence of the Other as a presence. The solitude of being among Replicants as well as human beings does not find a confirmation in death, but rather, is broken up by death as a glimpse of Mystery. The relation to Mystery is a relation to the Other through passivity. In that can be asserted the whole difference of Mystery as opposed to a secret. The repetition of the Origin is an event kept secret which has nevertheless to be shared, what Roy tries to complete with Tyrrell and achieves with Deckard. Roy and his fellow Replicants tremble at the sense of insecurity triggered by a limited lifetime. As they go on living, this sense of insecurity is redoubled by their impossibility to define the moment and circumstances of their death. It has to do with knowledge, with the inability to know the Origin and the End, with a will to power that does not get anywhere. Instead, the passive experience of the Christian Mystery is concerned with un-self-ish-ness, the single fact of taking upon oneself. Roy’s tears are not a sign of trembling, an impossibility to define the repetition of the Origin. Rather, they are the full, unselfish signature of his Statement.



- chapter iii -

dream factory

the other place of reminiscence

‘Pas un art ni une technique mais un mystère. Le temps trouvé […] Une rechute dans la pré-divinité.’

[ Jean-Luc Godard, Histoire(s) du cinéma ]

‘Le battement des images l’une sur l’autre ou l’une dans l’autre fait visiblement, de ces deux non-lieux mis hors-temps, un lieu impossible et unique, qui produit à mesure son propre temps. Le cinéma est une machine à re-monter le temps.’

[ Jacques Aumont, Amnésies ]






dream factory

the other place of reminiscence

In The Wake of the Other

Blade Runner as a ‘Haunting/Hunting’ Language

The will of a metatextual analysis focusing upon a film-making theory in Blade Runner is renewed through Derrida’s study of the trace and by extension, through the notion of spectrality. In this regard, the Replicants’ photographs play the part of retrospective traces — with their matter of memory — as well as prospective ones (there remains a part of fantasy when re-membering memories as well as a quest for identity pertaining to each Replicant). As Felix Deftereos states it on his personal web page,




‘A memory is literally remembered, as disparate fragments of data residing in various parts of the mind create replications not duplications of an original experience. This process is one of interpretation rather than reproduction, and as an interpretation, it is a reformulation, a reconstructed version of an experience. As a result of this process the perpetuation of memory owes more to the last recall event than to an authentic defining moment. A memory is therefore an animate replication of a replication ad infinitum, we remember what we remembered of what we remembered etc. A memory is therefore as different from and as similar to an initial moment as from other occasions of prompted recall. It is the product of a continuous genesis, and therefore subject to the contingencies of a precarious ontology.

With that being said, cinema partakes of a temporal thematic, but these traces, be they retrospective or prospective ones, must be viewed in the light of film-editing and its mechanisms. The whole relevance of such a metatextual analysis is fully emphasised through the fact that the spectator is led, just like Replicants, to play a part in the cross-checking of images. As Derrida puts it, it is a part of our fantasies that we, as spectators, project onto the screen.

This theory of the trace is also narrowly connected to the collecting of clues in an investigation. In this way, the photographs Leon gives up in his apartment are links awaiting to be reconstructed and which, far from being a support for identity, stand for the differing of his death sentence. The Derridean différance of such a sentence comes all the more to clarify the term Blade Runner, the latter is at the same time pursuing Replicants and stands as well for the sequence of images, that is, film-editing which according to Aumont is time and death. In point of fact, Jacques Aumont states that,

‘Le temps est ce dont nous voudrions nous protéger, mais contre quoi il n’existe pour le Dasein aucune armure (sauf l’art) ; l’instant est la pointe acérée selon laquelle le Temps perce toutes nos défenses […] Le cinéma-art [incarne] l’essentielle pression, l’insistance ou l’instance de l’à-venir dans le présent.’

He depicts film-editing as the rhythmical beating of images, these recalling the resistance of art to the advent of time : 

‘L’image bat, c’est trop évident, comme un cœur, par diastole-systole […] le rythme est l’être même de la forme, son essence — et n’a rien à voir avec la simple et carcérale scansion, avec la mesure, dont la nature est d’être prévisible.’

Such an unpredictability of Being is relevant in Blade Runner through the notion of incidence. The gestation of a Statement, the whole process towards an origin and an end, is constantly challenged by an underlying danger. It is only though film-editing that a sense of surprise can be achieved, that any systematic will is kept at bay.

As far as the investigation led by the Blade Runner is concerned, it will eventually appear that Roy was untrackable, and this for several reasons : Roy hangs on to no photograph, he accepts the forgetting of his memories as he greets his own mortality with a last poetical breath.

Roy : All those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain

As for Rachael, her salvation is achieved through the photographs laying scattered over Deckard’s piano. She finds in photography an opening towards what she might become : the untying of her hair foreshadows the outcome of her identity crisis.

The recurrence of Roy's questions is a search, deliberate or not, of the out-coming of the Other through repetition, iterability. The progressive fading away of the trace, the entailing loss of Origin and the foreshadowing of death fits in Blade Runner through the framework of the film noir tradition, which happens to be the repetition of the deepest motif in filmic theory. Replicants, more precisely Roy, stand for replications, each time changing and stamped with a new element — the out-coming of the Other, iterability — each time growing more distant from the Origin, ever getting closer to death with the Replicants' quickened pace ('The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly, Roy'). In comparison with the duplication, the exact copy of the original, the replication features the integration of the Other in the identification process, process that would most relevantly come closer to Levinas' thought.

The tautology of the ‘I/Eye’ as an apparent aporia is not accidental. Besides underlining the deep nature of Replicants — an aporetic tautology nevertheless on the move — it comes to emphasize the Replicants' humanity and the relevance of Blade Runner as a great movie in cinema history. The theme of repetition, the reiteration of this questioning also affects the spectator, himself induced to resume, go over, get back to this topos of questioning, led to a restless viewing of the movie so as to debunk it. In this respect, the multiple viewing situations are to the spectator as many repetitions bringing each time their set of surprise, revelation, uncommonness.

The belief aroused by Roy’s body echoes the ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ of cinema as a place of reminiscence. The belief in the ghosts of cinema is the same as that directed towards ‘Replicants’. The final belief triggered off by Roy in Deckard is also that of the spectator towards actors. The spectators’ solitude in relation to the movie they view makes up another need for communication, for, as Blanchot puts it,

‘L’œuvre est solitaire : cela ne signifie pas qu’elle reste incommunicable, que le lecteur lui manque. Mais qui la lit entre dans cette affirmation de la solitude de l’œuvre, comme celui qui l’écrit appartient au risque de cette solitude.’

Just as Deckard, the spectator is contrived to a state of passivity allowing an out-coming of the Other. In that, the relation binding Roy to Deckard would stand for an allegory of cinema. Deckard is an active spectator recollecting traces scattered before his very eyes.

Roy’s anguish in front of his creator, his guilt before his sin (‘I’ve done … questionable things’) is indissociable from the uncertainty of grace, from the theme of incidence all along the movie. We are, according to Kierkegaard, always in a state of half-communication. Thrown out into the world, we long for going back to our source, to the Origin, and this quest is dependent upon the bestowing of a divine for-give-ness.

The idea of a paradoxical, scandalous christic reincarnation is permanently to be found in Blade Runner. With the greatest separation — disaster — already striking human beings, mankind can no longer be affected by the belief of a body and paradoxically aspires to its destruction. The final belief instilled in Deckard — the only one to know : decode — by Roy, is in itself uncertain, be it only because of the persistent ambiguity with regards to Deckard’s identity — is he a Replicant or a human ?

Our salvation, our for-give-ness would thus dwell in our capacity to read, decipher, to act as the exegetes of traces left behind by the movie, just as Deckard’s salvation is conditioned by his decoding of traces dispensed by Roy.

The belief in Roy’s christic figure is a risk, at the same time tinged with uncertainty and oscillating, bending towards unbelief. Roy’s recurrent questions are left unanswered. What can be considered as the unique answer is the grace affecting Roy on the threshold of death. The death, the absence of Roy’s body, imposes upon Deckard as a presence, paradoxically. Presence of a responsibility to take on, vacuity all the more decisive since it pledges his whole being in its finitude.

Words repeating in infinite echoes are ghostly ones owing to the excess and thereby lack of representation in the movie. As we have already seen, the Replicants’ beyond of Being depends on a Statement. This means Blade Runner is a quest for language and underlines the movie script as an especially polished one. Blade Runner is an open space for an encounter, both infinite and violent. The out-coming of the Other must be obtained at a price, that of violence. This violence entails another one, which is the concern of the spectator, who is in a passive state of acknowledgement. The spectator’s condition is the same as that striking Deckard during his fight with Leon. In this regard, the experience of pain comes under the same state of passivity, just as Deckard seems to be impotent as opposed to Leon. The identifying process connecting the spectator to Deckard — just as Deckard is himself a spectator — shows through the difficulty to take on the responsibility of time present, through solitude, with no relation to alterity, for time assumes all its significance through the time of the Other. Roy is a figure of the writer, of alterity just as cinema allows the out-coming of the Other. In that can be revealed the relevance of film-editing — time present is a heavy responsibility whose weariness is just a mode of appearance (this weariness is also that, as we have already seen, of technological babbling). Nevertheless, time present, the ‘punctum’ of photography as described by Roland Barthes, infinitely bends, with desire, towards a future, that of alterity. This is the reason why the spectator assists the movie in procrastination, a delaying, the ‘not yet’ of a decisive encounter, the ‘unknotting’ of the not between Roy and Deckard, as well as between the spectator and the movie. This future is conditioned by the presence of Replicants, by the motif of repetition, the beating of images through film-editing. Through this process, the spectator is drawn in the drift of ‘différance’ and engrossed in the absence of time. Time of a ‘not yet’, the outcome of which can only happen through oversight, the same state of passivity we have already discussed. In that, the dream of a unicorn affecting Deckard would stand for an allegory, an ideal of cinema which few masterpieces have attained.

The dream of a unicorn is here to underline the infinite tension of the spectator towards cinema, that of desire. In this regard, the pervading night of the movie echoes that of the spectator. Cinema is not the place of free-will, but a more decisive space of dreaming, an opening to the out-coming of the Other. Deckard’s drowsing and the entailing dream of a unicorn reminds us of this possibility as spectators.

Far from meaning a material disappearance of the body, the cinema of Blade Runner asserts the presence of a body as its absence. Traces left behind by Replicants could mislead us into thinking of the Replicants as disseminated. It is on the contrary, only after Roy’s death, that the spectator is allowed to think some kind of unity has been retrieved through Roy’s absence. Cinema is indeed not a place from which to depart, but a place where the spectator is welcome to come back repeatedly. Therefore, the spectator can also be thought of as a Replicantt concerned with the same issues. The loss of Origin, the search for an outlet, is a prior ground for going back and again to the cinema. The cinematic work of art is an attempt at recovering the Origin, a means of gathering all the previously out-coming works into a new projection, each time stamped with a new element of exteriority. Cinema is a place of reminiscence, a way to find a space of one’s own, to find oneself again in a world already shaped, though nevertheless allowing a right to difference. With regards to this definition, cinema is still threatened with prejudice. The capacity for judging, the assimilation of the Other in the Same, the reaction to a movie as a rejection or an acceptation, is threatening the idea according to which a movie has to account for the theory of cinema as a whole.





E-Motion — Stepping out to the Other

The scenes of flights over the roofs of Blade Runner’s world find a counterpart in most science fiction movies. The experience of a step out accounts for an elsewhere of thinking, the possibility of a departure from and a coming back to the Self, as well as a sense of vertigo resulting from the Other’s highness. This coming back upon oneself — when the ‘Eye/I’ lands and finds a new foundation, an hypostasis — is foreshadowed by Deckard’s hanging onto an eye as he climbs up to the Bradbury Hotel’s roofs.


Just like Matrix, Strange Days and Dark City, the experience of a leap, of a spring in Blade Runner is both dangerous and dismaying. This very action of leaping, springing towards an elsewhere, has to do with the idea of a slipping foundation. It is though the possibility of landing which is here at stake. The notion of flight seems to freeze time, but still offers a glimpse of the Other. When the systematic question of the whole vanishes, the thought of authenticity is then relocated in emptiness. This most essential relationship with alterity, authenticity, is a call of consciousness. The void appearing at such a decisive moment is the in-draught of the Other. The glimpse of alterity is precisely the disquietude of emptiness. E-motion leads to flight but disquietude is the Out-coming of the Other through this electronic motion of flight. The hypnotic capacity of a systematic environment is invalidated through emptiness.

The deep concern of cinema, the authentic motion of the Self, is not the flight within a systematic environment, but the E-motion as a step out to the Other, Blade Runner’s incoming call to alterity. The feeling at peace with themselves of Replicants partakes of their deep nature. The electronic motion of Replicants, the essence of cinema, dwells in their capacity to move, unsettle our certainties through their enigmatic nature. E-motion is the keeping at a distance of the self, the remaining distance to cover towards the Other, there lies the extent of the other question, the question of the Other, of what is too high for an answer, but which has to be accounted for. This E-motion is also the setting out of the Self towards the unsynthesizable of these so-called synthetic bodies, an emotion towards Replicants. Electronics is here the vehicle of an ethical relationship.

The infinite sorrow of separation, the standing aloof of the Other is up to the Replicants’ E-motion. The gap between the Self and the Other is made positive through emotion. This is precisely what the Voigt-Kampff test aims at — the shedding into light of affective moods makes contact with authenticity.


The intercession of tears, of rain in Blade Runner, convey the idea of an infinite relationship to the spectator. Tears escape all phenomenality, assimilation, they can only recall the notion of trace, the unselfish expression of having, not to hold. Through tears, the responsibility of an infinite encounter with the Other is fulfilled, but soon to be replaced by the infinite sorrow of separation.

E-motion is this tension towards a concealed secret, withheld in abeyance of being shared at the condition of a decisive moment. This decisive event, the advent of an infinite dialogue, is disclosed at the time of an unmatched emotion. Only then, the restless motion of the Self towards the Other can find a beginning and an end. The sharing of a secret is a moment of eternity.





Eyes Wide Shut — The Divination of Enigma

The operation of having, not to hold, the double action of concealing and revealing, shows through enigma, as such non-phenomenal but still indicating the trace of transcendence. Enigma essentially escapes all attempt of assimilation, cannot be held but is barely guessed. Divination, the outcoming of dream in the self, is perhaps the hint through which enigma is worked out. The Riddle or conundrum is the other instance of the question, the divining outcoming of the Other. Divination relocates the heaviness of an absent foundation in a positive thoughtlessness. Self-oblivion is a mode of outcoming of the Other affecting Replicants and spectators.

The tracing back to the Origin, Roy and Deckard’s investigation, is just a mode of appearance of the Other. Enigma is thereby an upheaval sketching itself out through appearance, a coming out of immanence towards the possibility of a transcendent diachrony. The face to face with the Other is made possible by the trace. Enigma is the questioning of the Other, it comes ahead of the election, which insinuates an unwilling, confided responsibility into the Chosen one.

This responsibility is always prior to ourselves and bears the mark of our individuality. The operation of having, not to hold, already foreshadows the christian passivity. The lack of a foundation accounts for the disclosure of an essential renounciation, of a welcoming of the Other.


If the answer to the Replicants’ questioning is long overdue, is delayed, this is because this questioning focuses upon the Other. The setting in motion of questioning cannot be stilled through an answer. The authentic questioning is always in keeping with alterity. Thereby, questioning cannot find rest for it is the experience of the unanswerable.

The infinite sorrow of separation, the standing aloof of the Other is up to the Replicants’ E-motion. The gap between the Self and the Other is made positive through emotion. This is precisely what the Voigt-Kampff test aims at — the shedding into light of affective moods makes contact with authenticity.

The time of diachrony finds an expression through the blink of an Eye/I. The time of cinema is that of a blinking transition between dream and reality. It has to do with the theory of beating images through film-editing. The approach of the Other is only made possible through this compromise, just as cinema allows the outcoming of the Other through oversight. The connection of the eye with enigma, the decisive moment when Roy’s ‘I/Eye’ no longer questions, is an alternative to the phenomenality of the said towards a prior Statement escaping all assimilation, all comprehension. Blindness accounts for a divination and introduces the purest Statement. The enigma of the deepest question, the double action of concealing and revealing of the Voigt-Kampff test, foreshadows its double solubility, the tracing back of the Statement through the said. The return to the Origin, the Statement, is conditioned or sanctioned by blindness, which conveys an alternative to sensible knowledge. Enigma finds a solution through divination, the outcoming of the Other into the Self, whereas cinema turns out to be the modality of such a divination.

Roy and Deckard’s parallel soul-searching matches the transient state of the spectator. Roy and deckard both share an attitude of passivity. Roy’s moving consciousness is the facing of the ‘Eye/I’ with the world, the relentless flight of E-motion. This moving consciousness, the most passive one, E-motion as a departure from the Self and welcoming of the Other, finds its counterpart with Deckard’s drowsing consciousness, tinged itself with another passivity and allowing the outcoming of the Other through the dream. The synthesis of these two attitudes is always an attempt at finding oneself again through self-renunciation. The E-motion felt through a slipping foundation, the electronic motion of Replicants, the setting out towards self-knowledge, all echo the close connection of the spectator to the topos of cinema. The liberation of cinematic consciousness is made possible through the dream, the elsewhere of theaters. The nowhere of consciousness finds a resting place in Dream Factory.

The love of cinema is therefore an unconscious love of alterity. The authenticity of such a phenomenon is relocated in passivity and unselfishness.

The Replicants’ E-motion is a revealing element just like a developer is supposed to do with photographs. The interrogation of the Other is also made possible with the cinematic inspiration. The loss of a foundation through emotion, the entailing search for an Origin, finds an outlet with the good inspiration of cinema. The cinematic possibility of finding a place of one’s own and the motion towards the Other make the relevance of cinema.

Cinema opens up the experience of a step out towards an elsewhere. The questioning of a lost foundation is the place of a first impulse. The loss of a foundation offering no ground to stand on, Replicants have to find a departure from themselves. The coming out of the circle of the exchange is conditioned by a call, that of consciousness which creates the possibility of opening.

If the answer to the Replicants’ questioning is long overdue, is delayed, this is because this questioning focuses upon the Other. The setting in motion of questioning cannot be stilled through an answer. The authentic questioning is always in keeping with alterity. Thereby, questioning cannot find rest for it is the experience of the unanswerable.





elsewhere-the other question






Elsewhere - the other question


The uncertainty of Being leads from the precipitation of flight, as a mode of wandering, to the citation of the Statement whose repetition, our analysis of Roy’s ‘not yet’, is a re-citation. As Roy recites his final statement — his speech is hinting at William Blake — only his mere ‘All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain’ can be attributed to him.

This is precisely where the whole processes of this work has led us. The darkness of cinema relocates the positivity of doubt, the possibility of questioning as the blankness of a page to be written, of a new adventure to be experienced, gone through. The possibility of doubt has to grow richer in this trial, must depart from and entrust itself with a new responsibility to take on, towards a beyond where uncertainty is the only answer.

In the end, cinema is an experience that cannot leave the spectator unscathed. The experience of Roy’s death is indissociable from that of the spectator. Time is the most valuable good. It can be shared with a responsibility to take on, but in the end death is what affects us in the deepest of our own being. This is what the experience of cinema epitomizes — the vision of the movie is a collective one, can be discussed, but what I derive from it is my only concern. In that, an ideal of cinema shows through such a movie as Blade Runner. Roy gives Time, he leads Deckard and the spectator to think. Blade Runner sets us thinking Time out.

The thought of Time is the thought of alterity. When everything seems to collapse, when all foundation seems to vanish, then the thought of the Other appears, the other thought always differed, kept at a distance. The will to travel, the thought of separation hints at the infinite of a distance to cover, towards a reconciliation of the Self to the Other. And this very reconciliation finds an expression through for-give-ness. In that, the cinematic support tells us the impressive possibility of the Other, the outcoming of alterity in the Same.

And this cannot find a better expression though emotion. Eventually, E-motion is the action of moving, watching over the other, or at least, is the transcendent interstice towards alterity. E-motion is thus a constant awakening, an alternative to the wakefulness of an impersonal Being. This is an attitude one has to see to it, for it opens up to a beyond of Being, towards goodness. In that, tolerance keeps a watchful eye over the Other. It is more precisely an approach of the Other, an infinite idea of what is too high to be contained. Tolerance is the measure of goodness, the idea of the Other.


Philosophical works

Alquié Ferdinand. Le Désir d’éternité. Paris : Puf, 1947.

Alquié Ferdinand. La Nostalgie de l’Etre. Paris : Puf, 1973.

Calin Rodolphe & Sebbah François-David, Le vocabulaire de Lévinas. Paris : Ellipses, 2002.

Carrique Pierre. Rêve, Vérité, Essai sur la philosophie du sommeil et de la veille. Paris : Gallimard, 2002.

Chambon Christian. Logique de la Finitude. Strasbourg : Presses Universitaires de Srasbourg, 19990.

Derrida Jacques. Adieu à Emmanuel Lévinas. Paris : Galilée, 1997.

Derrida Jacques. Apories. Paris : 1996.

Derrida Jacques. Donner la Mort. Paris : Galilée, 1999.

Derrida Jacques. Donner le temps 1.La fausse monnaie. Galilée, 1991.

Derrida Jacques. Heidegger et la question. Paris : Flammarion, 1990.

Derrida Jacques. L’Ecriture et la Différence. Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1967.

Derrida Jacques. Papier Machine. Paris : Galilée, 2002.

Fleury Cynthia. Pretium Doloris, L’Accident comme souci de soi. Paris : Pauvert, 2002.

Gelven Michael. A Commentary on Heidegger’s Being and Time. New-York : Harper and Row, 1970.

Gualandi Alberto. Figures du savoir: Lyotard. Paris : Les Belles Lettres, 1999.

Heyndels Ralph. La Pensée Fragmentée. Bruxelles : Pierre Mardaga, 1985.

Hegel Friedrich. La Phénoménologie de l’Esprit. Paris : Aubier Montaigne, 1941.

Heidegger Martin. Sein und Zeit. Paris : Gallimard, 1986.

Kelkel Arion. La Légende de l’être, Langage et poésie chez Heidegger. Paris : Vrin, 1980.

Kierkegaard Søren. Crainte et Tremblements, Œuvres complètes. Paris : Editions de l’Orante, 1972

Lévinas Emmanuel. Autrement qu’Etre ou Au-Delà de l’Essence. Paris : Ldp Biblio Essais, 1990.

Lévinas Emmanuel. De l’Existence à l’Existant. Paris : Vrin, 1998.

Lévinas Emmanuel. Dieu, la Mort et le Temps. Paris : Grasset, 1993.

Lévinas Emmanuel. Ethique et Infini. Paris : Ldp Biblio Essais, 1982.

Lévinas Emmanuel. Le Temps et l’Autre. Paris : Puf Quadrige, 2001.

Lévinas Emmanuel. Totalité et Infini. Paris : Ldp Biblio Essais, 1990.

Lyotard Jean-François. La Condition Postmoderne. Paris : Editions de Minuit, 1979.

Lyotard Jean-François. Le différend. Paris : Editions de Minuit, 1983.

Mattéi Jean-François. Heidegger et Hölderlin, Le Quadriparti. Paris : Puf, 2001.

Mattéi Jean-François. L’étranger et le simulacre. Paris : Puf, 1983.

Parménide. Sur la Nature ou sur l’étant, la langue de l’être. Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1998.

Platon. Théetète, Parménide. Paris : GF Flammarion, 1967.

Platon. Sophiste, Politique, Philèbe, Timée, Critias. Paris : GF Flammarion, 1993.

Sebbah François-David. Figures du savoir : Lévinas. Paris : Les Belles Lettres, 2000.

Literary works

Artaud Antonin. L’Ombilic des Limbes, Le pèse-nerfs. Paris : Gallimard, 1956.

Béguin Albert. L’Ame romantique et le rêve. Paris : Ldp Biblio Essais, 1991.

Blanchot Maurice. L’Attente l’Oubli. Paris : Gallimard, 2000.

Blanchot Maurice. L’Ecriture du Désastre. Paris : Gallimard, 1980.

Blanchot Maurice. L’Entretien Infini. Paris : Gallimard, 1969.

Blanchot Maurice. L’Espace Littéraire. Paris : Gallimard, 1955.

Blanchot Maurice. Le Pas Au-Delà. Paris : Gallimard, 1973.

Dick Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. New-York : Del Rey, 1982.

Schulte Nordholt Anne-Lise. Maurice Blanchot, L’écriture comme expérience du dehors. Genève : Droz, 1995.


Aumont Jacques. Amnésies, Fictions du cinéma d’après Jean-Luc Godard. Paris : P.O.L, 1999.

Barthes Roland. La Chambre Claire. Paris : Gallimard, 1980.

Barthes Roland. Le Plaisir du Texte. Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1973.

Bukatman Scott. The Virtual Subject in Post-Modern Science Fiction. Durham and London : Duke University Press, 1993.

Sammon Paul M. Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner. London : Orion Media, 2000.

Stiegler Bernard. Le Temps du Cinéma et la Question du Mal-Etre (Tome 3). Paris : Galilée, 2001.



Reviews and Internet Sites


Première — French edition

Première — US edition

Time magasine

Les Cahiers du Cinéma


www.dvdfr.com (DVD reviews)

www.dvdrama.net (DVD reviews)

www.imdb.com (world-famous Internet movie database)

www.movie-page.com (fine site dedicated to movie scripts)

www.scribble.com/uwi/br/off-world.html (search engine of Blade Runner-related articles)


Transcription of Blade Runner


Intercom: Next subject, Kowalski, Leon, engineer, waste-disposal, file-section, new employees, six days.

[ Knock on door ]

Intercom (background): Calling Mr. Webber. Please...

Holden: Come in.

Intercom (background): ... report to zone A, sector 9. [ pause ] Replication sector, level 9 - we have a B-1 security alert. Standby for ID check...

Holden: Sit down.

Intercom (background): Replication sector, level 9 - we have a B-1 security alert. Standby for...

Leon: Care if I talk? I'm kind of nervous when I take tests.

Holden: Uh, just please don't move.

Leon: Oh, sorry. [ pause ] I already had an IQ test this year, I don't think I've ever had one of these-

Holden: Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Leon: Sure.

Holden: One-one-eight-seven at Hunterwasser.

Leon: That's the hotel.

Holden: What?

Leon: Where I live.

Holden: Nice place?

Leon: Yeah, sure I guess--that part of the test?

Holden: No, just warming you up, that's all.

Leon: Oh. It's not fancy or anything.

Holden: You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of the sudden-

Leon: Is this the test now?

Holden: Yes. You're in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down-

Leon: What one?

Holden: What?

Leon: What desert?

Holden: It doesn't make any difference what desert, it's completely hypothetical.

Leon: But how come I'd be there?

Holden: Maybe you're fed up, maybe you want to be by yourself, who knows? You look down and you see a tortoise, Leon, it's crawling toward you-

Leon: Tortoise? What's that?

Holden: Know what a turtle is?

Leon: Of course.

Holden: Same thing.

Leon: I've never seen a turtle. [ pause ] But I understand what you mean.

Holden: You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back Leon.

Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden, or do they write them down for you?

Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping.

Leon: What do you mean I'm not helping?

Holden: I mean, you're not helping. Why is that Leon? [ pause ] They're just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response. [ pause ] Shall we continue? Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about: your mother.

Leon: My mother?

Holden: Yeah.

Leon: Let me tell you about my mother. [ shot fired ]

[ Cut to overhead shot of city, zooms in on Deckard, reading a newspaper ]

Overhead blimp: A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure.

Sushi Master: Nan-ni shimasho-ka? [ Japanese for: "What would you like to have?" ]

Overhead blimp: A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreational facilities...

Deckard (voice-over): They don't advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. Ex-cop, ex-blade runner, ex-killer.

Overhead blimp: absolutely free... Use your new friend as a personal body servant or a tireless field hand - the custom tailored genetically engineered humanoid replicant designed especially for your needs. So come on America, lets put our team up there...

[ Deckard walks over to Japanese carry-out stand ]

Sushi Master: ...akimashita, akimashita. Irasshai, irasshai. [ pause ] Sa dozo. Nan-ni shimasho-ka? [ Japanese for: "Now you can sit here. Come on. Well, what would you like to have?" ]

Deckard: Give me four.

Sushi Master: Futatsu de jubun desuyo. [ Japanese for: "Two must be enough for you" ]

Deckard: No, four. Two, two, four.

Sushi Master: Futatsu de jubun desuyo. [ Japanese for: "Two must be enough for you" ]

Deckard: And noodles.

Sushi Master: Wakatte kudasai yo. [ Japanese for: "Please understand me." ]

Deckard (voice-over): Sushi, that's what my ex-wife called me. Cold fish.

Policeman: Hey, idi-wa. [ Korean for: "Come here." ]

Gaff: Monsier, ada-na kobishin angum bi-te. [ Cityspeak for: "You will be required to accompany me, sir." ]

Sushi Master: He say you under arrest, Mr. Deckard.

Deckard: Got the wrong guy, pal.

Gaff: Lo-faast! Nehod[y] maar! Te vad[y] a Blade... Blade Runner!

[ The meaning of Gaff's sentences in Cityspeak (Hungarian):

  1. "lo-faast" is a rude expression. Originally is written as "lofaszt" and is a combined word. "lo" means "horse" and "fasz" means "prick", "dick". Together, and with the suffix "-t" [which refers accusative] it's a shortened form of "lofaszt a seggedbe" ["have a horse's dick in your ass"]. In this context it means that Gaff tolerates Deckard's answer as nuts and refuses to be ignored.
  2. "nehod[y] maar", originally "nehogy mar" is an informal spoken formula, shortened from "nehogy mar ugy legyen!" meaning about "wish it wouldn't be that way!". It's enforcing Gaff's expression about Deckard's lame "leave-me-alone-sucker" answer.
  3. "te vad[y]" originally "te vagy" simply means "you are".
  4. "a" means "the"
So, a close translation is:
Gaff: Shit, man, dontcha say, you're the Blade... Blade Runner.]

Sushi Master: He say you brade runna.

Deckard: Tell him I'm eating.

Gaff: Captain Bryant toka. Meni-o mae-yo. [ Cityspeak for: "Captain Bryant ordered me to bring you in." ]

Deckard: Bryant, huh?

Sushi Master: Hai! [ Japanese for: "Yes!" ]

[ Deckard and Gaff take off vertically in spinner to see Bryant. ]

Spinner: Yellow 3, climb and maintain four thousand... when approaching pad six...

Deckard (voice-over): The charmer's name was Gaff. I'd seen him around. Bryant must have upped him to the Blade Runner unit. That gibberish he talked was city-speak, guttertalk, a mishmash of Japanese, Spanish, German, what have you. I didn't really need a translator. I knew the lingo, every good cop did. But I wasn't going to make it easier for him.

Spinner: ...final descent, now on glide path, on course, over the landing threshold.

[ Bryant's office ]

Bryant: Hiya Deck.

Deckard: Bryant.

Bryant: You wouldn't have come if I just asked you to. Sit down pal. C'mon don't be an asshole Deckard. I've got four skin jobs walking the streets.

Deckard (voice-over): Skin jobs. That's what Bryant called replicants. In history books he's the kind of cop that used to call black men niggers.

Bryant: They jumped a shuttle Off-world, killed the crew and passengers. They found the shuttle drifting off the coast two weeks ago so we know they're around.

Deckard: Embarrassing.

Bryant: No sir. Not embarrassing, because no one's ever going to find out they're down here. Because you're going to spot them, and you're going to air them out.

Deckard: I don't work here anymore. Give it to Holden, he's good.

Bryant: I did. He can breathe okay as long as nobody unplugs him. [ Gaff picks up a pice of paper ] He's not good enough, not as good as you. I need you, Deck. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old blade runner, I need your magic.

Deckard: I was quit when I came in here, Bryant. I'm twice as quit now.

Bryant: Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people.

[ Gaff sets down an oragami chicken ]

Deckard: No choice, huh?

Bryant: No choice pal.

[ Video room - showing video of Leon and Holden, labeled "V.K. 96/W/9-3H" ]

Leon (video): I already had an IQ test this year, I don't think I've ever had one of these-

Holden (video): Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Answer as quickly as you can.

Leon (video): Yeah, sure.

Holden (video): One-one-eight-seven at Hunterwasser.

Leon (video): Yeah, that's the hotel.

Holden (video): What?

Leon (video): Where I live.

Holden (video): Nice place?

Leon (video): Yeah, sure I guess--

Bryant: There was an escape from the Off-world colonies two weeks ago. Six replicants, three male, three female. They slaughtered twenty-three people and jumped a shuttle. An aerial patrol spotted the ship off the coast. No crew, no sight of them. Three nights ago they tried to break into Tyrell Corporation. One of them got fried running through an electrical field. We lost the others. On the possibility they might try to infiltrate his employees, I had Holden go over and run Voigt-Kampff tests on the new workers. Looks like he got himself one.

Holden (video): So you look down you see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you.

Leon (video): Tortoise, what's that?

Holden (video): Know what a turtle is?

Leon (video): Of course.

Holden (video): Same thing.

Leon (video): I've never seen a turtle.

Deckard: I don't get it. What do they risk coming back to earth for? That's unusual. Why--what do they want out of the Tyrell Corporation?

Bryant: Well you tell me pal, that's what you're here for.

Deckard: [funny look]. [pause] What's this?

Bryant: Nexus 6. Roy Batty. Incept date 2016. Combat model. Optimum self-sufficiency. Probably the leader. [ pause ] This is Zhora. She's trained for an Off-world kick-murder squad. Talk about beauty and the beast, she's both. [ pause ] The fourth skin job is Pris. A basic pleasure model. The standard item for military clubs in the outer colonies. They were designed to copy human beings in every way except their emotions. The designers reckoned that after a few years they might develop their own emotional responses. You know, hate, love, fear, anger, envy. So they built in a fail-safe device.

Deckard: Which is what?

Bryant: Four year life span.

Bryant: Now there's a Nexus 6 over at the Tyrell Corporation. I want you to go put the machine on it.

Deckard: And if the machine doesn't work?

[ Deckard flies to the enormous Tyrell building ]

Deckard (voice-over): I'd quit because I'd had a belly full of killing. But then I'd rather be a killer than a victim. And that's exactly what Bryant's threat about little people meant. So I hooked in once more, thinking that if I couldn't take it, I'd split later. I didn't have to worry about Gaff. He was brown-nosing for a promotion, so he didn't want me back anyway.

[ Inside the Tyrell building--looks faintly Egyptian. An owl flies across the room. ]

Rachael: Do you like our owl?

Deckard: It's artificial?

Rachael: Of course it is.

Deckard: Must be expensive.

Rachael: Very. I'm Rachael.

Deckard: Deckard.

Rachael: It seems you feel our work is not a benefit to the public.

Deckard: Replicants are like any other machine. They're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem.

Rachael: May I ask you a personal question?

Deckard: Sure.

Rachael: Have you ever retired a human by mistake?

Deckard: No.

Rachael: But in your position that is a risk?

Tyrell: Is this to be an empathy test? Capillary dilation of the so-called blush response? Fluctuation of the pupil? Involuntary dilation of the iris?

Deckard: We call it Voigt-Kampff for short.

Rachael: Mr. Deckard, Dr. Eldon Tyrell.

Tyrell: Demonstrate it. I want to see it work.

Deckard: Where's the subject?

Tyrell: I want to see it work on a person. I want to see a negative before I provide you with a positive.

Deckard: What's that going to prove?

Tyrell: Indulge me.

Deckard: On you?

Tyrell: Try her.

Deckard: It's too bright in here.

[ The window changes shade, letting less light in ]

Rachael: Do you mind if I smoke?

Deckard: It won't affect the test. All right, I'm going to ask you a series of questions. Just relax and answer them as simply as you can. [ pause ] It's your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet.

Rachael: I wouldn't accept it. Also, I'd report the person who gave it to me to the police.

Deckard: You've got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar.

Rachael: I'd take him to the doctor.

Deckard: You're watching television. Suddenly you realize there's a wasp crawling on your arm.

Rachael: I'd kill it.

Deckard: You're reading a magazine. You come across a full-page nude photo of a girl.

Rachael: Is this testing whether I'm a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?

Deckard: Just answer the questions, please. [ pause ] You show it to your husband. He likes it so much he hangs it on your bedroom wall.

Deckard (background): ...bush outside your window...

Rachael: I wouldn't let him.

Deckard (background): ...orange body, green legs...

Deckard: Why not?

Rachael: I should be enough for him.

[ Audio fades out and in, time passes. ]

Deckard: One more question. You're watching a stage play. A banquet is in progress. The guests are enjoying an appetizer of raw oysters. The entree consists of boiled dog.

Tyrell: Would you step out for a few moments, Rachael? [ pause ] Thank you.

Deckard: She's a replicant, isn't she?

Tyrell: I'm impressed. How many questions does it usually take to spot them?

Deckard: I don't get it Tyrell.

Tyrell: How many questions?

Deckard: Twenty, thirty, cross-referenced.

Tyrell: It took more than a hundred for Rachael, didn't it?

Deckard: She doesn't know?!

Tyrell: She's beginning to suspect, I think.

Deckard: Suspect? How can it not know what it is?

Tyrell: Commerce, is our goal here at Tyrell. More human than human is our motto. Rachael is an experiment, nothing more. We began to recognize in them strange obsessions. After all they are emotional inexperienced with only a few years in which to store up the experiences which you and I take for granted. If we give them the past we create a cushion or pillow for their emotions and consequently we can control them better.

Deckard: Memories. You're talking about memories.

[ Deckard and Gaff drive to Leon's apartment in spinner, watching Leon's video. ]

Holden (video): Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Leon (video): Sure.

Holden (video): One-one-eight-seven at Hunterwasser.

Leon (video): Yeah, That's the hotel.

Holden (video): What?

Leon (video): Where I live.

Holden (video): Nice place?

Leon (video): Yeah, sure I guess--that part of the test?

Holden (video): No--

[ Deckard and Gaff inspect the apartment. Deckard finds a scale in the bathtub and some family photos. Gaff watches quietly, folding an origami statue of a man with an erection. ]

Deckard (voice-over): I didn't know whether Leon gave Holden a legit address. But it was the only lead I had, so I checked it out. [ pause ] Whatever was in the bathtub was not human. Replicants don't have scales. [ pause ] And family photos? Replicants didn't have families either.

[ Leon meets Roy outside of phonebooth. ]

Roy: Time enough. [ pause ] Did you get your precious photos?

Leon: Someone was there.

Roy: Man? Police-man?

[ Roy and Leon enter Chew's building ]

Chew: [ ???] [ Chinese for: "Ha yes! So little time." ]

[ Chew examines an eye under a microscope ] Chew: [ ??? ] [ Chinese for: "Ha, ha! So beautiful." ]

[ Roy and Leon enter Chew's lab ] Chew: [ ??? ] [ Chinese for: "Ha, ha! Beautiful indeed." ]

[ Leon tugs at the hoses connected to Chew's heated fur coat. ] Chew: [ ??? ] [ Chinese for: "Where did you come from? What the hell do you think you are doing?" ]

[ Chew speaks into his coat-lapel microphone. ]

Chew: [ ??? ] [ Chinese for: "Ah - Chong, come quickly." ]

Roy: Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rode around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc.

Chew: [ ??? ]. You not come here. Illegal. [ pause ] Hey. Hey. [ ??? ] Cold! Those are my eyes! Freezing!

Roy: Yes, questions.

[ Leon removes Chew's jacket. ]

Chew: Hey! Hey! Hu-ahh. Huh. Huh-ay...

Roy: Morphology, longevity, incept dates.

Chew: Don't know -- I, I don't know such stuff. I just do eyes. Just eyes -- Just genetic design -- just eyes. You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes.

Roy: Chew, if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes. Questions.

Chew: I don't know answers.

Roy: Who does?

Chew: Tyrell. He -- He knows everything.

Roy: Tyrell corporation?

Chew: He big boss. He big genius. He design your mind, your brain.

Roy: Ah, smart.

Chew: Cold.

Roy: Not an easy man to see--

Chew: Very cold.

Roy: I guess?

Chew: Se-Se-Sebastian he -- he take -- take you there.

Roy: Sebastian who?

Chew: J. -- J. F. Sebastian-- Sebas... Sebas...

Roy: Now, where would we find this J. F. Sebastian?

[ In car, listening to Leon's video ]

Holden (video): Lets continue, shall we. Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about your mother.

Leon (video): My mother?

Holden (video): Yeah.

Leon (video): I'll tell you about my mother. [ shot fired ]

Elevator: Voice print identification. Your floor number please.

Deckard: Deckard, ninety-seven.

Elevator: Ninety-seven, thank-you, danke.

[ The elevator doors open, and Deckard pulls his gun on Rachael ]

Rachael: I wanted to see you, [ pause ] so I waited. Let me help.

Deckard: What do I need help for?

Rachael: I don't know why he told you what he did.

Deckard: Talk to him.

[ Deckard closes his apartment door on Rachael. ]

Rachael: He wouldn't see me.

[ Deckard reopens the door, and Rachael enters. ]

Deckard: Do you want a drink? No? No?

Rachael: You think I'm a replicant, don't you? [ pause ] Look, it's me with my mother.

Deckard: Yeah. [ pause ] Remember when you were six? You and your brother snuck into an empty building through a basement window--you were gonna play doctor. He showed you his, but when it got to be your turn you chickened and ran. Remember that? You ever tell anybody that? Your mother, Tyrell, anybody, huh? You remember the spider that lived in a bush outside your window: orange body, green legs. Watched her build a web all summer. Then one day there was a big egg in it. The egg hatched--

Rachael: The egg hatched...

Deckard: Yeah...

Rachael: ...and a hundred baby spiders came out. And they ate her.

Deckard: Implants! Those aren't your memories. They're somebody else's. They're Tyrell's niece's. [ pause ] Okay, bad joke. I made a bad joke. You're not a replicant. Go home, okay? No really, I'm sorry. Go home. [ pause ] Want a drink? I'll get you a drink. I'll get a glass.

[ Rachael runs away when Deckard turns to get a glass. Then, Deckard looks a Rachael's photo. ]

Deckard (voice-over): Tyrell really did a job on Rachael. Right down to a snapshot of a mother she never had, a daughter she never was. Replicants weren't supposed to have feelings. Neither were blade runners. What the hell was happening to me? [ pause ] Leon's pictures had to be as phony as Rachael's. I didn't know why a replicant would collect photos. Maybe they were like Rachael. They needed memories.

[ Deckard, on balcony. ]

[ Switch to Pris. Outside J. F. Sebastians's apartment building. Covers herself in trash pile. ]

Pris: Pugh... Uhhh... Ungh... Ungh...

Sebastian: Hey! You forgot your bag.

Pris: I'm lost.

Sebastian: Don't worry, I won't hurt you. [ pause ] What's your name?

Pris: Pris.

Sebastian: Mine's J. F. Sebastian.

Pris: Hi.

Sebastian: Hi. Oh, where were you going? Home?

Pris: I don't have one. We scared each other pretty good, didn't we?

Sebastian: We sure did.

Pris: I'm hungry J. F.

Sebastian: I've got some stuff inside. You want to come in?

Pris: I was hoping you'd say that.

[ Pris and Sebastian enter building. ]

Pris: Do you live in this building all by yourself?

Sebastian: Yeah, I live here pretty much alone right now. No housing shortage around here. Plenty of room for everybody. [ pause ]

Pris: [ cough ].

Sebastian: Watch out for the water.

Pris: Must get lonely here J. F.

Sebastian: Hmm... Not really. I make friends. They're toys. My friends are toys. I make them. It's a hobby. I'm a genetic designer. Do you know what that is?

Pris: No.

Sebastian: Now... Oh... [ Lets Pris into apartment first ] Yoo-hoo, home again.

Kaiser and Bear: Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Good evening J. F.

Sebastian: Good evening, fellas.

Kaiser: [ Bumps into wall ] Oooh!

Sebastian: They're my friends. I made them. Where are your folks?

Pris: I'm sort of an orphan.

Sebastian: Oh, what about your friends?

Pris: I have some, but I have to find them. I'll let 'em know where I am tomorrow.

Sebastian: Oh. Can I take those things for you? They're soaked aren't they?

[ Deckard scans his old family photos, taps on the piano for a bit, and then uses the ESPER machine. ]

Deckard: Enhance 224 to 176. Enhance, stop. Move in, stop. Pull out, track right, stop. Center in, pull back. Stop. Track 45 right. Stop. Center and stop. Enhance 34 to 36. Pan right and pull back. Stop. Enhance 34 to 46. Pull back. Wait a minute, go right, stop. Enhance 57 to 19. Track 45 left. Stop. Enhance 15 to 23. Give me a hard copy right there.

[ Market - Deckard gets the snake scale examined via electron microscope. ]

Deckard: Fish?

Cambodian Lady: I think it was manufactured locally. Finest quality. Superior workmanship. There is a maker's serial number 99069-07X/B71. Interesting. Not fish. Snake scale.

Deckard: Snake?

Cambodian Lady: Try Abdul Ben-Hassan. He make this snake.

[ Abdul Ben-Hassan's ]

Abdul: [ Mumbles something ]

Deckard: Abdul Hassan? I'm a police officer, I'd like to ask you a few questions. Artificial snake license X/B71, that's you? This is your work, huh? Who did you sell it to?

Abdul: My work? Not too many could afford such quality.

Deckard: How many?

Abdul: Very few.

Deckard: How few? Look my friend.

Abdul: Taffey Lewis, down in fourth sector, Chinatown.

[ Taffey Lewis's ]

Deckard: Bartender? Taffey Lewis? Taffey, I'd like to ask you a few questions.

Taffey: Blow me.

Deckard: You ever buy snakes from the Egyptian, Taffey?

Taffey: All the time, pal.

Deckard: You ever see this girl, huh?

Taffey: Never seen her, buzz off.

Deckard: Your licenses in order pal?

Taffey: Hey Louis, the man is dry. Give him one on the house, okay?. See ya.

[ Deckard calls Rachael on a public videophone. "555-7583" ]

Rachael: Hello?

Deckard: I've had people walk out on me before, but not when I was being so charming. I'm at a bar here now down at the fourth sector. Taffey Lewis is on the line. Why don't you come on down here and have a drink?

Rachael: I don't think so, Mr. Deckard. That's not my kind of place.

Deckard: Go someplace else?

[ Rachael hangs up on Deckard. Deckard returns to Taffey's. Videophone displays "TOTAL CHARGE - $1.25" ]

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen. Taffey Lewis presents Miss Salome and the snake. Watch her take the pleasures from the serpent that once corrupted man.

[ Miss Salome's dressing room. ]

Male voice repeated in background: Oi, Aremiroya! Nanka hen-na mon nokocchattaze. [ Japanese for: "Hey, look! Something strange has been left." ]

Female voice repeated in background: Ha. Darekakara no purezento. [ Japanese for: "Wow. It's a present from someone." ]

Deckard: Excuse me, Ms. Salome, can I talk to you for a minute? I'm from the American Federation of Variety Artists.

Zhora: Oh, yeah?

Deckard: I'm not here to make you join. No ma'am. That's not my department. Actually, uh. I'm from the, uh, Confidential Committee on Moral Abuses.

Zhora: Committee of Moral Abuses?

Deckard: Yes, ma'am. There's been some reports that the management has been taking liberties with the artists in this place.

Zhora: I don't know nothing about it.

Deckard: Have you felt yourself to be exploited in any way?

Zhora: How do you mean, exploited?

Deckard: Well, like to get this job. I mean, did you do, or-- or were you asked to do anything that's lewd or unsavory or otherwise, uh, repulsive to your person, huh?

Zhora: Ha. Are you for real?

Deckard: Oh yeah. I'd like to check your dressing room if I may.

Zhora: For what?

Deckard: For, uh, for holes.

Zhora: Holes?

Deckard: Well you -- you'd be surprised what a guy'd go through to get a glimpse of a beautiful body.

Zhora: No, I wouldn't.

Deckard: Little, uh, dirty holes they, uh, drill in the wall so they can watch a lady undress. [ pause ] Is this a real snake?

Zhora: Of course it's not real. Do you think I'd be working in a place like this if I could afford a real snake? [ pause ] So if somebody does try to exploit me, who do I go to about it?

Deckard: Me.

Zhora: You're a dedicated man. Dry me.

[ Fight and chase ]

Male voice repeated in background: Oi, Aremiroya! Nanka hen-na mon nokocchattaze. [ Japanese for: "Hey, look! Something strange has been left." ]

Female voice repeated in background: Ha. Darekakara no purezento. [ Japanese for: "Wow. It's a present from someone." ]

Hari Krishnas: Hari, Hari. Hari, Hari. Hari, Hari.

Street Sign: Cross now... Don't walk...

Deckard: Move! Get out of the way!

[ Deckard fires. Kills Zhora in slow motion scene. Leon watches Deckard from the street. ]

Deckard (voice-over): The report would be routine retirement of a replicant which didn't make me feel any better about shooting a woman in the back. There it was again. Feeling, in myself. For her, for Rachael.

Deckard: Deckard. B two-sixty-three fifty-four.

Street Sign: Move on...

Saleslady: A minute. Yeah what do you want?

Deckard: Tsing tao. This enough?

Saleslady: Yeah.

Gaff: Bryant.

Bryant: Christ, Deckard, you look almost as bad as that skin job you left on the sidewalk.

Deckard: I'm going home.

Bryant: You could learn from this guy Gaff. He's a god damn one man slaughter house. That's what he is. Four more to go. Come on Gaff, let's go.

Deckard: Three. There's three to go.

Bryant: There's four. That-- That-that skin job that you V-K'ed at the Tyrell Corporation, Rachael. Disappeared. Vanished. Didn't even know she was a replicant. Something to do with a brain implant says Tyrell. Come on Gaff. Drink some for me, huh, pal.

[ Deckard sees Rachael across the street, and chases after her. Leon stops Deckard in the street ]

Deckard: Leon.

Leon: How old am I?

Deckard: [ Punches Leon ] I don't know.

Leon: [ Throws Deckard against wall ] My birthday is April 10, 2017. How long do I live?

Deckard: Four years.

[ Leon throws Deckard against another wall. Deckard pulls out his gun, but Leon immediately knocks it away. ]

Leon: More than you.

[ Leon swings and misses Deckard, but punches a hole in a steam generator. ]

Leon: Painful to live in fear, isn't it?

[ Leon tosses Deckard down on his back. ]

Leon: Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch.

Deckard: Oh, I agree.

[ Leon picks Deckard up by the collar, and slaps him across the face. ]

Leon: Wake up! Time to die.

[ Leon gets ready to gouge out Deckard's eyes... But, Rachael pops some lead into his cranium ]

[ Back at Deckard's apartment ]

Deckard: Shakes? Me too. I get 'em bad. [ clears throat ] It's part of the business.

Rachael: [ Crying... ] I'm not in the business. [ Pause ] I am the business.

[ Deckard enters the kitchen, removes his shirt, and spits some blood into the sink. ]

Rachael: What if I go north. Disappear. Would you come after me? Hunt me?

Deckard: No. No, I wouldn't. I owe you one. But somebody would.

Rachael: Deckard? You know those files on me? The incept date, the longevity, those things. You saw them?

Deckard: They're classified.

Rachael: But you're a policeman.

Deckard: I didn't look at them.

Rachael: You know that Voigt-Kampff test of yours? Did you ever take that test yourself? Deckard?

[ Deckard falls asleep while Rachael lets her hair down and plays the piano. ]

Deckard: I dreamt music.

Rachael: I didn't know if I could play. I remember lessons. I don't know if it's me or Tyrell's niece.

Deckard: You play beautifully.

[ A little rough-housin. Then Deckard kisses Rachael. ]

Deckard: Now you kiss me.

Rachael: I can't rely on.

Deckard: Say kiss me.

Rachael: Kiss me.

Deckard: I want you.

Rachael: I want you.

Deckard: Again.

Rachael: I want you. Put your hands on me.

[ Sebastian's apartment. ]

Sebastian: Whatcha doing?

Pris: Sorry, just peeking.

Sebastian: Oh.

Pris: How do I look?

Sebastian: You look better.

Pris: Just better?

Sebastian: Well, you look beautiful.

Pris: Thanks.

[ Roy approaches Sebastian's apartment ]

Pris: How old are you?

Sebastian: Twenty-five.

Pris: What's you problem?

Sebastian: Methuselah syndrome.

Pris: What's that?

Sebastian: My glands. They grow old too fast.

Pris: Is that why you're still on earth?

Sebastian: Yeah, I couldn't pass the medical. Anyway, I kind of like it here.

Pris: I like you just the way you are. Hi Roy.

Roy: Ah, gosh. You've really got some nice toys here.

Pris: This is the friend I was telling you about. This is my savior J. F. Sebastian.

Roy: Sebastian. I like a man that stays put. You live here all by yourself, do ya?

Sebastian: Yes.

[ Roy kisses Pris. ]

Sebastian: How 'bout some breakfast. I was just gonna make some.

Pris: Well?

Roy: Leon--

Pris: What's going on.

Roy: Ah-- There's only two of us now.

Pris: Then we're stupid and we'll die.

Roy: No we won't.

[ Sebastian and Roy at chess board ]

Sebastian: No, knight takes queen, see. No good.

Roy: Why are you staring at us Sebastian?

Sebastian: Because. You're so different. You're so perfect.

Roy: Yes.

Sebastian: What generation are you?

Roy: Nexus six.

Sebastian: Ah, I knew it. 'Cause I do genetic design work for the Tyrell Corporation. There's some of me in you. Show me something.

Roy: Like what?

Sebastian: Like anything.

Roy: We're no computers Sebastian, we're physical.

Pris: I think, Sebastian, therefore I am.

Roy: Very good Pris, now show him why.

[ Pris throws hot eggs at Sebastian ]

Roy: We've got a lot in common.

Sebastian: What do you mean?

Roy: Similar problems.

Pris: Accelerated decrepitude.

Sebastian: I don't know much about biomechanics, Roy, I wish I did.

Roy: If we don't find help soon, Pris hasn't got long to live. We can't allow that. [ pause ] Is he good?

Sebastian: Who?

Roy: Your opponent.

Sebastian: Oh, Dr. Tyrell? I've only beaten him once in chess. He's a genius. He designed you.

Roy: Maybe he could help.

Sebastian: I'd be happy to mention it to him, sure.

Roy: Better if I talk to him in person. But I understand he's a sort of hard man to get to.

Sebastian: Yes, very.

Roy: Will you help us?

Sebastian: I can't.

Pris: We need you Sebastian. You're our best and only friend.

Roy: [ Holds fake eyebalss up to his eyes, and speaks in a goofy chinese accent ] We're so happy you found us.

Pris: I don't think there's another human being in the whole world who would have helped us.

[ To Tyrell's house. ]

Tyrell: 66 thousand Prosser and Ankovich. Hmmm.. Trade. Trade at--

Computer: New entry. A Mr. J. F. Sebastian. 1-6-4-1-7.

Tyrell: At this hour? What can I do for you Sebastian.

Sebastian: Queen to Bishop 6. Check.

Tyrell: Nonsense. Just a moment. Mmmm. Queen to Bishop 6. Ridiculous. Queen to Bishop 6. Hmmm... Knight takes Queen. [ pause ] What's on your mind Sebastian? What are you thinking about?

Roy: [ whispered ] Bishop to King 7. Checkmate.

Sebastian: Bishop to King 7. Checkmate, I think.

Tyrell: Quite a brainstorm, uh, Sebastian. Milk and cookies kept you awake, huh? Lets discuss this. You better come up, Sebastian.

Sebastian: Mr. Tyrell. I-- I brought a friend.

Tyrell: I'm surprised you didn't come here sooner.

Roy: It's not an easy thing to meet your maker.

Tyrell: And, what can he do for you?

Roy: Can the maker repair what he makes.

Tyrell: Would you like to be modified?

Roy: Stay here. [ pause ] I had in mind something a little more radical.

Tyrell: What-- What seems to be the problem?

Roy: Death.

Tyrell: Death. Well, I'm afraid that's a little out of my jurisdiction, you--

Roy: I want more life, fucker.

Tyrell: The facts of life. To make an alteration in the evolvment of an organic life system is fatal. A coding sequence cannot be revised once it's been established.

Roy: Why not?

Tyrell: Because by the second day of incubation, any cells that have undergone reversion mutations give rise to revertant colonies like rats leaving a sinking ship. Then the ship sinks.

Roy: What about EMS recombination.

Tyrell: We've already tried it. Ethyl methane sulfonate as an alkylating agent and potent mutagen. It created a virus so lethal the subject was dead before he left the table.

Roy: Then a repressive protein that blocks the operating cells.

Tyrell: Wouldn't obstruct replication, but it does give rise to an error in replication so that the newly formed DNA strand carries the mutation and you've got a virus again. But, uh, this-- all of this is academic. You were made as well as we could make you.

Roy: But not to last.

Tyrell: The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You're the prodigal son. You're quite a prize!

Roy: I've done questionable things.

Tyrell: Also extraordinary things. Revel in your time.

Roy: Nothing the god of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for.

[ Roy kisses Tyrell on the mouth. Tyrell screams as his eyes are gouged out. ]

[ On the street... Police radio heard in background. Street vandals approach Deckards car. ]

Vandal: Jemand hat uns ein kleines Geschenk dagelassen. [ German for: "Somebody left us a little present." ]

Vandal: Ist jemand drinnen? [ German for: "Is somebody in there?" ]

Vandal: Ich kann nichts sehen. Hey, warte bis die Bullen weg sind! Hey, warte bis die Bullen weg -- [ German for: "I can`t see anything. Hey, wait `til the cops are gone! Hey, wait `til the cops -- " ]

Bryant: Body identified with Tyrell as a twenty-five year old male caucasian named Sebastian. J. F. Sebastian. Address Bradbury apartments, ninth sector. NM46751. I want you to go down there---

Policeman: This sector's closed to ground traffic. What are you doing here?

Deckard: I'm working. What are you doing?

Policeman: Arresting you. That's what I'm doing.

Deckard: I'm Deckard. Blade runner. Two sixty three-fifty four. I'm filed and monitored.

Policeman: Checking. [ pause ] Okay, checked and cleared. Have a better one.

[ Deckard calls Sebastian's apartment. ]

Pris: Hello?

Deckard: Hi, is J. F. there?

Pris: Who is it?

Deckard: Uh, this is Eddie. An old friend of J. F.'s.

[ Pris hangs up. ]

Deckard: Ooh. That's no way to treat a friend.

[ Deckard recognizes that there`s someone on the roof of the car and drives off. The vandal drops from the roof with a box in his hand. ]

Vandal: (So ein) Scheißkerl! [ German for: "(What a) fucker!" ]

[ The vandals are now fighting for the box. ]

Vandal: Gib` das sofort her! Hau ab! [ German for: " Give this to me! Get lost! " ]

[ Deckard enters apartment. ]

Kaiser and Bear: Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Good evening J. F.

Kaiser: [ Bumps into wall ] Oooh!

[ Lots o' background noise from the toys... Deckard searches... He takes off Pris's veil. Pris attacks, does the ole "head squishem between the legs trick". Deckard blows some chunks into Pris... again... again. Roy arrives. Deckard fires, but misses. ]

Roy: Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent. I thought you were supposed to be good. Aren't you the good man? Come on Deckard. Show me what you're made of.

[ Roy breaks through wall. ]

Roy: Proud of yourself, little man? This is for Zhora.

Deckard: Arrggh.

Roy: This is for Pris.

Deckard: Arrgghh.

Roy: Come on, Deckard, I'm right here, but you've got to shoot straight.

[ Deckard fires again. ]

Roy: Straight doesn't seem to be good enough. Now it's my turn. I'm gonna give you a few seconds before I come. One, Two. Three, Four. Pris...

Deckard: Arrghhh.

[ Chase starts... Roy begins howling. ]

Roy: [ singing ] I'm coming. [ pause ] Four, five. How to stay alive. [ pause ] I can see you! [ pause, grasping hand ] Not yet. Not...

[ Roy put stake through hand and screams. ]

Roy: Yes...

[ Roy puts head through wall. ]

Roy: You better get it up, or I'm gonna have to kill ya! Unless you're alive, you can't play, and if you don't play... Six, seven. Go to hell, go to heaven.

[ Fight ]

Roy: Yeah, that's the spirit.

[ Deckard hits Roy with pipe. ]

Roy: That hurt. That was irrational. Not to mention, unsportsman like. Ha ha ha. Where are you going?

[ Deckard does some amazing climbing, then jumps to next building. Roy follows, after tossing a bird. ]

Roy: Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

[ Deckard falls, Roy catches him. ]

Roy: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.

Deckard (voice-over): I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life, anybody's life, my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.

Gaff: You've done a man's job, sir. I guess you're through, huh?

Deckard: Finished.

Gaff: It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?

Deckard: Rachael? Rachael? Rachael?

[ Deckard uncovers Rachael. ]

Deckard: Do you love me?

Rachael: I love you.

Deckard: Then trust me.

Rachael: I trust you.

Deckard: Rachael?

[ Deckard picks up paper unicorn. ]

Gaff (memory): It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?

Deckard (voice-over): Gaff had been there, and let her live. Four years, he figured. He was wrong. Tyrell had told me Rachael was special: no termination date. I didn't know how long we had together, who does?






The present study has been made possible thanks to Mr Philippe Romanski. His precious advice as well as his patience and understanding proved of utmost importance to the achievement of this work. I am indebted to him for all the attention he has devoted to this project.

As well, many thanks to all the people who supported me in this process.

To Serge, whose memory will haunt me forever.