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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #100


Second #4700, 78:20

“Donny! Donny! Donny, no! No! Donny mommy loves you!” This is moments after Frank has said, in reference to Dorothy, “Let Tits see her kid.” The tenderness of her hand upon the door molding. A glimpse of a woman in pink in the room with Donny. “What the real world is: that is a very difficult problem” (Haruki Murakami, IQ84). The two lamps in the corner of the room. Who puts two lamps in the same space? Dorothy’s hand, again, the elegant length of her fingers, and the hands of the woman sitting beneath the light switches. Donny’s home is not his home. Ben’s “place” is not a home, although its interior architecture is familiar. Donny is hidden in a home that is not his own.

Freud’s discussion of the uncanny initially focuses on two meanings of the German word heimlich. The first has various associations with the homely, the familiar; the second has associations with the secret, something that must be concealed and kept out of public sight. The two, while apparently unconnected in meaning, are connected by topography: the home encloses and thus gives comfort while the secret is enclosed and thus hidden. (Laura Mulvey, from Death 24x a Second)

The pea-green leather couch, pushed too far in front of the door molding. The empty space of the frame pulling all thoughts to the room’s overlit corner. A thousand reasons for Dorothy to hate Frank. The soft-colored feel achieved by cinematographer Frederick Elmes to contrast with the horror of Dorothy’s reaction to seeing her son Donny. Dorothy’s thoughts, what are they? What atrocities has she seen, has she yet to see?

I did not believe one word of it. I knew I had behaved exactly according to his desires; had he not bought me so that I should do so? I had been tricked into my own betrayal to that illimitable darkness whose source I had been compelled to seek in his absence and, now that I had met that shadowed reality of his that came to life only in the presence of its own atrocities, I must pay the price of my new knowledge. (Angela Carter, from “The Bloody Chamber”)

The film frame. A fraction of a second. Here, then, is the approximately one-second of film time–in 24 consecutive frames–from which the frame above is taken. Dorothy’s hand disappears in frame #20:

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