More than 25 years ago, Ridley Scott’s adaptation of popular science fiction author Philip K Dick’s novel Blade Runner thrilled film fans with its inspired futurism, visual effects and electronic score. Such has been the film’s power that even after two decades, the sequel Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, is one of the most anticipated films of 2017.
Inspired by the technical mastery of the original, South African filmmaker Christopher Grant Harvey worked on a short film prequel to Blade Runner for five years on a budget of $1,500. Set in the same universe as the original and the source novel, the 11-minute Tears in the Rain explores the possibility of exterminating an android that might actually be human. The short takes its title from the poignant monologue delivered by Rutger Hauer’s replicant at the end of the film: “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 the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost, in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
The short film is set in 21st century Los Angeles. Replicant hunter John Kampff (Sean Cameron) runs into Andy Smith, whom he suspect of being a robot. Over the course of an interview, Kampff feels his suspicions are confirmed and proceeds with extermination, only to realise that he might be wrong.