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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #37

Second #1739, 28:59

The lights on the stage, they illuminate Dorothy, whose talent in this frame to deny Jeffrey her gaze. She is Gilda transported from 1946 to 1986, the curtains behind her unanimated with the sort of predatory menace that the Production Code forbade Rita Hayworth from exploiting. Lynch must have recognized the power of restraint, of not showing, and so nearly the first one-third of Blue Velvet is as tame as an Andy Hardy movie. In this regard, the enduring power of Blue Velvet is that it meets a very specific need and desire: our desire for the archive. In his great (and sort of neglected) book Archive Fever, the postmodern enfant terrible Jacques Derrida wrote:

We are en mal d’archive: in need of archives. Listening to the French idiom, and in it the attribute en mal de, to be en mal d’archive can mean something else that to suffer from sickness, from a trouble or from what the noun mal might name. It is to burn with a passion. It is never to rest, interminably, from searching for the archive right where it slips away. It is to run after the archive, even if there’s too much of it, right where something in it anarchives itself. It is to have a compulsive, repetitive, and nostalgic desire for the archive, an irrepressible desire to return to the origin, a homesickness, a nostalgia for the return to the most archaic place of absolute commencement.

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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