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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #62

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Second #2914, 48:34

1. In the aftermath of the assault, Dorothy calls Jeffrey Don, her kidnapped husband’s name. Jeffrey tenderly corrects her. “No,” he says. She doesn’t seem to hear him: “Oh Don. Hold me.” Frank, Jeffrey, and Don, the three men circulating in Dorothy’s imagination. Don. Donny. “Little” Donny. The largely off-camera presence of the Donnys governs the logic of the film.

2. In David Mamet’s 1994 play The Cryptogram, Donny (“a woman in her late thirties”) has this exchange with Del (“a man of the same age”), in which she tells him that sometimes she wishes she was a Monk:

DEL: And what does this man do?
DONNY: The monk.
DEL: Yes.
DONNY: Nothing. (Pause.) He sits; and gazes out at his . . .
DEL: Mm. Well, that’s a form of meditation . . .
DONNY: Gazes out at his domain.
DEL: Well, I’m sure you’d be very good at it.
DONNY: You’re very kind.
DEL: What? I’m very kind, yes. (Pause.) For it’s. A form. Of meditation. (Pause.) As are they all.

3. DOROTHY, on the phone with Frank: “Is little Donny OK? Is he there?”

4. From Donnie Darko: Where is Donnie?

5. The Blue Velvet screen at second #2914, split vertically in the mode of early Brian De Palma. Two screens sharing the same space. On the left, the active narrative which draws our attention. On the right, the latent narrative, hibernating. The looming danger of the hall, the illusion of the bathroom doorway slightly tilted, like the strobe-lit hallways that Pete (Balthazar Getty) traverses in Lost Highway. There is the implied space of the back bedroom down the hall, which lies dormant like a hot trap. It is, later, where Jeffrey will lay his trap for Frank. There is almost a present and future in the division of the frame, with the present unfolding on the left side and the sleeping future on the right, the space there waiting for the film’s characters to awaken it. Waiting for Dorothy, for Jeffrey. Waiting for Frank. Waiting to destroy Frank.

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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