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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #55

Second #2585, 43:05

Frank has, as they say, arrived. And he is one suave motherfucker.

Bourbon in hand, he commands the room. He is Sinatra minus the musical talent. He barks at Dorothy, as if he himself was the director of Blue Velvet: he orders her to light the set and arrange the props. Then he directs her in her performance, forcing her into a brutalizing form of Method acting. For Dorothy is clearly acting for Frank, in the same was that Isabella Rosselleni is acting for Lynch, and for us. Her apartment suddenly has been transformed—with the entrance of Frank—into a rehearsal space, the aspiring actress playing the part of the one-who-is-directed.

And yet in some inscrutable universe, Dorothy and Frank seem to have lost their way, and there is a sense of improvisation to the moment. Worse yet, this unguarded moment has allowed a sense of the terrifying unknown into the proceedings. The closest analogy I can think of comes from the play Bug, by Tracy Letts, which features this exchange:

AGNES: I think we’re safe.
PETER: No, not really. You’re never really safe. One time, maybe, a long time ago, people were safe, but that’s all over. Not any more, not on this planet. We’ll never really be safe again. We can’t be, not with all the technology, and the chemicals, and the information.
AGNES: I don’t even like to think about it.
PETER: Sometimes, though, when you’re lying in bed at night, you can feel it. All the machines, all the people working their machines, their works, humming.

Except that in Blue Velvet, the invisible machines are inside the room, this very room, where Dorothy and Frank sit across from each other, playing out their roles, speaking words to each other that make bad things happen.

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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