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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #15

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Second #705, 11:45

And so here you are, lost in a movie. “It must be great,” the young man says to the older man, referring to his job as a detective. The older man replies, “It’s horrible too.” And you think: this is how life is. Great. And horrible. The detective is at work eradicating evil all the time, even at home where he has not changed out of his detective outfit, because evil does not sleep. You think about the seriousness with which Blue Velvet treats evil in a secular age, and how the most that the detective can say about evil is that it is horrible. That word opens up like an abyss. It could mean anything and that’s why you are lost, and why you wish to remain lost, and why even in this image there are mysteries, like the red lamp and the way it injects some inscrutable meaning into the frame.

You wish this scene could play out forever, the detective and the young man talking in widening circles about the problem of evil in the world, and where it comes from, and why it exists, and how to combat it, and who deserves saving and who does not. The young man is about to make a choice; perhaps he already has. The detective knows this and that is why he looks at him with such pity, such fatherly pity. The young man’s own father, as it so happens, is ill, and so he has come here, to visit with the detective and to talk about evil. The red lamp hears everything, and the detective and the young man do not know this. And the young man does not know that the detective’s daughter is outside, in the dark. Has she been waiting for him the entire time? Is she drawn to his sadness? Is he drawn to hers? No matter, because the more you the think and write about this film, the stranger things get and yesterday, you drank at a bar in the American Midwest where a lamp just like the one from second #705 glowed in the corner, like some sort of taunt.

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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