It was 2018, a year after its release, when Blade Runner 2049 was consecrated as one of the most complex film in the creative and aesthetic field with an Oscar for cinematography by director Roger Deakins.
Inspired by a novel by Philip Dick, he made his first film debut in 1982 with the adaptation of Ridley Scott, whose story was set in a distant future, now our past (2019), of a rainy, nocturnal Los Angeles.
Scott himself feared the idea of a sequel, so much so that he postponed the proposal for decades, until he entrusted the direction to the Canadian artist Denise Villenueve, back from a science fiction masterpiece entitled “Arrival”.
The intention to deviate from the first film in terms of setting, references, colours, avoided being subjected to the weight of a comparison and being remembered only as a sequel. For this reason Villenueve and Deakins worked together from the beginning with the storyboard designers, thinking about the whole construction, the setting and above all the role that rain, a recurring element of the Cyberpunk genre, which they decided to replace with snow: if in the first movie there was a “cold” atmosphere, in this one we will surely feel “icy”.
The shots, developed on horizontal planes at the limits of perfection, are accompanied by a selection of colors that allows us to distinguish one scene from another: it is a matter of matching colors, in this case orange and blue “tea”, to different scenes to emphasize the visual experience by telling two completely separate realities. The first characterizes a perfect world in contact with a “miracle”, while the blue is part of a hopeless and dehumanized world.
As for the setting, the source that inspired the pre-production of the film was Beijing’s architecture flooded with smog and artificial light, the same characteristics that bring us back to Cody Ellingham‘s photographic work. His images are perfect compositions that convey an almost surreal sharpness, emphasized by the distinctive character of cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Did you know: David Bowie was Director Denis Villeneuve‘s first choice for the role of Niander Wallace, but he died before the start of shooting.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Director of Photography: Roger Deakins
Writers: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Stars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas