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Food in Film: Blade Runner 

Finally, after months of waiting, Netflix delivered "Blade Runner: The Final Cut" to our mailbox. The movie was so popular upon its release last December that even thought it was at the top of our queue then, it arrived on February 8th.

Normally I'd just slide a movie down on the list and wait patiently until it was easier to get, but my sweetie and I are trying to watch AFIs "100 Greatest Films" (updated) list in order from #100 to #1, and "Blade Runner" is #97. And being purists, we refused to skip it and move on to "Do The Right Thing."

Anyway...

What role does food play in "Blade Runner?" An enigmatic one. First of all, there's a lot of food-related product placement, mostly for various beer brands and Coca-Cola.  In fact, BR was one of the first films to incorporate product placement: It came out in 1982, the same year that ET made his case for Reese's Pieces. Since the film takes place in 2019 and there are no Pepsi ads to be seen, are we meant to believe that Coke ultimately won the "cola wars?" Or were they just the first soda company to jump on the bandwagon? Were these ads part of Ridley Scott's vision, or just a way to finance the film? Who knows.

When we meet our dubious "hero," Deckard, it is at a noodle bar. In BR, the population of 2019 L.A. is largely Asian. My only stab at a narrative explanation for having to watch Deckard order and slurp down noodles is to drive that fact home.

Food also makes an appearance when Deckard uses a breath/heart rate/pupil dilation response test to determine if another character, Rachel, is human or a humanoid android called a "replicant." Because animals are all but extinct -- and are idolized -- this future world, several of the questions center around eating 'em. When Rachel reacts with strong disgust to the idea of eating raw oysters, but seems less perturbed by the idea of eating boiled dog stuffed with rice, it helps Deckard conclude that she's a replicant.

Finally, there's a scene in which eggs are boiling in a tall glass beaker, and one of the replicants reaches into the beaker and pulls out an egg. This shows how invincible she is, but also, eggs themselves are symbols of birth, and birth (vs. creation) is one of the films most important themes.

And that's it.

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Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Bio:
Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a... more

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