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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #45

Second #2115, 35:15

Jeffrey, startled by Dorothy’s return, hides in the closet. She undresses, and comes toward the closet and, just as Jeffrey is about to be discovered, the phone rings. It has not rung yet at the moment of this frame, which captures Jeffrey’s fantasy-dream at its edges: what are the chances that the woman of his dreams would strip to her underwear and approach him? The angle of vision is not directly from Jeffrey’s point of view, slightly dissociating us from his gaze. But that phone ring, as if dialed in from the stock sounds of classic Hollywood itself, such a well-timed ring, designed to a) alert us to the coming storm of Frank, and b) delay the moment of Dorothy’s discovery of Jeffrey in the closet. The vulnerability of Dorothy at this point—in all her imperfect human beauty, which makes her even more beautiful—is perhaps just as shocking as the coming violence, and perhaps accounts for Ebert’s notorious anger about the film’s treatment of Isabella Rossellini (rather than Dorothy) in the film. Like Chris in Charles Burns’s Black Hole, Dorothy exerts her own black-hole gravity, bending light, bending our gaze, toward the center that is her.

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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