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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #113

Second #5311, 88:31

1. This frame is from around twelve seconds into a thirteen-second shot, just before the screen goes black. Jeffrey sobs. The unflinching, unmoving camera eye does not look away. There is no soundtrack. There is nothing ironic or postmodern about this moment.

2. Paul Virilio, from his book Open Sky:

‘If anyone thinks I paint too fast, they are watching me too fast,’ Van Gogh wrote. Already, the classic photograph is no more than a freeze frame. With the decline in volumes and in the expanse of landscapes, reality becomes sequential and cinematic unfolding finally gets the jump on whatever is static.

3. Rendered at a low frame rate (below) the shot in question suggests Jeffrey’s jagged brokenness. In order not to watch too fast maybe we ought to watch differently, deforming the film to correspond to its own portrayal of psychological torment and deformity.

4. David Lynch, from an interview with Chris Rodley:

So I had this idea, and that’s when I did The Alphabet. It was four minutes long. That’s when my daughter Jennifer was born and I recorded her crying with a Uher tape recorder that was broken. I didn’t know that it was broken, but the crying and everything I recorded with it was fantastic.

5. The fact of crying in the films of David Lynch, and in Twin Peaks. Laura Dern’s is the face that cries the most, anguished and beautiful. But Jeffrey cries, too.

6. The movie turns at this point, back to Sandy. Jeffrey has gone as deep into the black well as he can, and now he must journey back. But he can’t come back and become the same man that he was before the journey. Something in him has already changed. A fuse has been blown. He went too deep.

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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