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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #10

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Second #470, 7:50

1. Detective Williams greets Jeffrey, who has come bearing an ear in a bag. He stands face to face with the archetypal detective, who wears his holster and gun in the office. He is either a man who has repressed a lot, or a man who is completely open and comfortable with the fact of evil in the world. His eyes are sad and knowing and also suspicious. Actually, Jeffrey is the detective, and he might as well be saying, “I found the ear. This is my case. Stay far away.”

2. Lynch has said that “clues are beautiful because I believe we’re all detectives. We mull things over and we figure things out. We’re always working this way. People’s minds hold things and form conclusions with indications.”

3. This frame at second #470 is the culmination of a subtle but doom-y and even menacing camera movement that Lynch uses periodically throughout the film. As Jeffrey leans into the room, he sees Detective Williams facing the map on the wall in the further room, which perhaps is his private office. The camera remains stationary as Williams walks forward, deliberately, after Jeffrey calls his name. As he crosses the doorway threshold, however, the camera begins moving slowly forward, and Jeffrey enters the frame from the right. This changes our perspective slightly, and brings us closer to the action, which is almost staged as a confrontation. It’s the sort of camera movement that doesn’t call attention to itself but that somehow, almost unconsciously, makes us feel as if we are a part of the darkening story, a story that we recognize as our own.

Over the period of one full year — three days per week — The Blue Velvet Project will seize a frame every 47 seconds of David Lynch’s classic to explore. These posts will run until second 7,200 in August 2012. For a complete archive of the project, click here. And here is the introduction to the project.

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