Blade Runner at the Odeon

By Mark Villarreal (California State University in Florence)

As the Florentine sun began to descend into the Arno, a purple twilight rose above the dreamy marquee behind the Odeon. A line of excited individuals flocked to the main lobby, and waved their cash towards a nervous young woman sitting at the box office. I grabbed my ‘biglietto’ and sat amongst the gold encrusted ceilings, and the art deco moldings. As the lights dimmed down, a sinister knock echoed across the halls of the film palace. I looked to my left, and pondered over the twirling sirens that encapsulated my being. The film industry is fascinated with nostalgia, that is, for the past, the present, (and in this case) the future. Blade Runner 2049 is no exception, reintroducing us to the eery avenues of Los Angeles that once again mesh in a bold, nostalgic, and frightening new way. As the sweeping landscapes began to unfold, I felt the wind roll down the hills, through the projection, and onto my neck. Blade Runner 2049 ’s greatest strength lies within its camera work. Every image is an encryption from another dimension. Los Angeles becomes the dark pretense of the future, and Las Vegas morphs into a toxic wasteland of sandy surfaces. It is here that we find ‘Officer K’ (Ryan Gosling) on a dire quest to uncover a cloudy mystery. In true crime-noir fashion, ‘Officer K’ stumbles upon an array of strange (yet fascinating) characters, and the highly sought after Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) takes full command of Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece (Blade Runner), and enhances the world whilst paying respect to the ideas of the original. The haunting score continued to echo throughout my night, reminding me that other worlds do exist in the realm of cinema.

When the lights came up the audience around me sighed with exhaustion and contentment, because even in Italy, film still has a singular effect on the hearts of every dreamer. I crept through a crowded lobby, and slid past the doorway to find a line of excited Florentines eager to attend the next showing. It was nice, to put it simply. The dim street lamps, now burning yellow, illuminated the crooked roads leading to and from the Odeon. I looked around the lively square, and recollected the memories of yesteryear; screenings in the open air; movies at midnight; popcorn and soda. If Blade Runner is the future, and Los Angeles is my past, then today Florence is my fantasy.

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