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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #7

Second #329

Jeffrey’s father is in the hospital, from a scene whose unstable tone is a microcosm of the movie itself. On one level, this moment is almost painfully tender. Jeffrey’s father struggles to speak with him as Jeffrey looks on, helpless. Yet on another level, the scene feels almost like a parody of an As The World Turns hospital scene*, with the overdetermined nurse and doctor, who ushers Jeffrey into the room by the elbow. It’s as if Lynch stuffed every hospital-like contraption into the frame; Jeffrey’s father seems beset by many illnesses. Lynch holds the shot of the father just long enough for us to notice the head brace, tubes, and bandages, but not long enough to figure out what they all mean. The point is he’s been rendered immobile and unable to speak, and has become the Absent Father whose confinement to the hospital makes Jeffrey’s descent into darkness all the more possible. Or: Jeffrey’s journey into darkness and trouble somehow make his father whole again.

*More on the connection between Blue Velvet and soap operas later, but for now, note the similarity between the swelling music from this clip of As The World Turns (from the :28 to the :30 second mark) and Angelo Badalamenti’s score at the heart-stopping moment that Sandy emerges from the shadows.

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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