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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #132


Second #6204, 103:24

Fragments. Frames. Pieces of a puzzle:

1. “Sandy please. Sandy.”

2. Dorothy naked, but still wearing her wig. A performer.

3. Her performance before Sandy and Mrs. Williams.

4. The lamp in the corner. The trapped bird.

5. The flesh of Dorothy’s arm.

6. “Nothing can be achieved in the art of film until its form is understood to be the product of a completely unique complex: the exercise of an instrument which can function, simultaneously, both in terms of discovery and invention. . . . The camera provides the elements of the form, and, although it does not always do so, can either discover or create them, or discover and create them simultaneously.” Maya Deren, from “An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film,” 1946.

7. The blank familiarity of the suburban home.

8. “We did Blue Velvet in total freedom.” Isabella Rossellini, 2008.

9. “The power of cinematic language juxtaposes spaces and images which disturb the familiar with strangeness and the uneasy intimations of fear and desire.” Laura Mulvey, from Fetishism and Curiosity, 1996.

10. The stairs as the zero point of the Williams home.

11. “Here, however, lies the task of any philosophical thought: to go to the limit of hypotheses and process, even if they are catastrophic. . . . Here, beyond the discourse of truth, resides the poetic and enigmatic value of thinking.” Jean Baudrillard, from The Vital Illusion, 2000.

12. That bird again. And those stairs. Blue Velvet is tainted with the residual subconscious muck of Psycho, except the psycho in Blue Velvet calls the maternal figure “mommy” rather than “mother.”

13. Jeffrey, at this moment, thinking himself out of a maze.

14. “Desire is always in excess, even if it simply the desire to desire.” Mary Ann Doane, from The Desire to Desire: The Woman’s Film of the 1940s, 1987.

15. Earlier, Detective Williams, in response to Jeffrey’s desire to know more about Dorothy’s case, said that he couldn’t reveal any more information, and that “that’s the way it has to be.” And yet Jeffrey does not obey, and the result is perhaps the film’s most subversive moment, as Jeffrey delivers the naked object of his desire right into the Detective’s house, the symbolic heart of the Law.

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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