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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #81

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Second #3807, 63:27

1. “Today,” Jeffrey tells Sandy at Arlene’s, as we see a flashback of what he’s describing, “I staked out Frank’s place with a camera. Now, there’s another man involved in all this. I call him The Yellow Man.” These shots, in the bright of day, are some of the most quietly beautiful in the film with their burnt-orange 1940s-era Allied Vans, as if Walker Evans photographs had switched to color.

2. In Derek Raymond’s novel The Devil’s Home On Leave, the nameless Detective Sergeant recalls a terrible dream:

But in the night I dreamed that two figures appeared at the foot of my bed in Earlsfield. The one in front was a thickset, middle-aged man, heavy-featured and dressed in a cap and a thick grey coat. He made as if to chop at me with his hand. Black matter seeped out of his mouth and nose and he had been dead for years. The figure behind was so evil that one glance was all I could stomach. It was very small, a collection of what looked like old peeled sticks wrapped in a sack; it radiated hell’s own malice and groaned to get at me.

3. The frame at second #3807, too, has its own malice, in the form of the black window to the right of the gas pump, its upper pane boarded over, the irrational sense (in the way that nightmares are) that there may be someone inside watching Jeffrey, who is himself watching Frank. The window recalls, as imperfectly as memory, the Man in the Planet at the window in Eraserhead.

4. A few moments after this frame, once Jeffrey has described more of what he saw, he asks, “Now the trouble is, what does that prove?” Sandy’s response is “Nothing, really, but it’s interesting.” Just like a dream, or a nightmare.

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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