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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #78

Second #3666, 61:06

After Frank and his gang leave the Slow Club, Jeffrey follows them. He is a detective, now. The scene is bathed in hellish red. The slow rumble of thunder ratchets up the tension. There is no one for Jeffrey, neither Dorothy nor Sandy. Not now, in the silence of his car. In fact, the movie has carried itself forward without functional dialogue for a while; it’s become pure cinema, where the images and sounds render dialogue obsolete, because of what use is dialogue in the bloodlands?

In 2666, by Roberto Bolaño, a character, Norton,

repeated, in German, there’s no turning back. And, paradoxically, she turned and walked off away from the pool and was lost in a forest that could barely be seen through the fog, a forest that gave off a red glow, and it was into this red glow that Norton disappeared.

The lighted phone booth beneath and between the cursive The Slow Club sign. A person standing there: perhaps David Lynch? Jeffrey’s car, its headlights like an animal’s eyes at night. The awful familiarity of a dirt parking lot, the soft purr of cars across the surface. It is the night, after all, when a different sort of order compels the kingdom, and a different sort of blackness fills Jeffrey’s mind and car. The Slow Club, spooling out in linked letters from left to right, as if chronology itself slowed down inside its doors, a sort of parallel path of time, a clock that runs not thirty minutes but thirty years slow.

Jeffrey, in the red glow of some light source implied by the neon sign but not emanating from it, speeds off after Frank into the black hole that stretches and elongates the sense of time in Blue Velvet, driving from right to left across the screen rather than the chronological left to right, as if the film is asking us to accept what we always-already knew: that time itself orbits around those in power, those dictators and megalomaniacs whose force of will bends the will of others, those Franks who lure the victims and would-be victims, the powerless and the would-be powerless, into moments (like Jeffrey will face soon, at Ben’s) when suddenly the urge to survive blasts and burns away the Old Morality, the old dictators, to make way for a new hope.

The hope of robins.

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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