At the cinema. Attending a Slightly Unusual and Exciting Premiere of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart

Here’s a cinematic experience I’ll never forget. During my time in Basel as a PhD student, I spent much of my free time in the cinema. My wife was living a few hundred miles away, the evenings were long and the winters cold.

My chum John and I went to see David Lynch‘s Wild at Heart, with Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage. As this was a Tuesday night, the cinema was almost empty.

The movie starts. A young man in a snakeskin jacket (Cage) enters a theatre. He chats with his girlfriend (Dern). A hired killer (Gregg Dandridge) approaches the couple, a fight ensues, the young man throws the assassin to the floor, grabs him by the ears and bangs his head on the marble steps, until blood and gore explode all over the place. The young guy is arrested and sent to jail. His stepmother (Diane Ladd) drinks a martini from a large glass, her face filled with glee.

The weird thing we notice is that David Lynch had decided to film these initial scenes by compressing the picture horizontally. Cage, Dern and Ladd were barely recognizable; bodies and faces stretched out into much thinner versions. But OK, we thought, this probably had some special meaning, perhaps some “vintage-thing.”

Suddenly the movie stops. We sit in the dark and wait. The operator has apparently reversed the movie, as it soon starts from the beginning.

The (elongated) young man enters the theatre. He chats with his (elongated) girlfriend. The killer approaches the couple, a fight ensues, the young man throws the man to the floor, grabs him by the ears and bangs his (elongated) head on the marble steps, blood and gore explode all over the place. The body liquid runs down the stairs. Bang. Bang. Bang. The young guy is sent to jail. His stepmother drinks a martini from a large glass, her (elongated) face filled with glee.

The movies stops again, for the obvious reason that there was no sound. “Damn,” whispers John.

The movie restarts. Cage (the elongated version) enters a theatre, chats with his girlfriend. Dandridge approaches the couple, a fight ensues, the young man throws the man to the floor, grabs him by the ears and bangs his (elongated) head on the marble steps, blood and gore all over the place. Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! The man’s skull audibly cracks. Body liquid runs down the stairs. It’s a bloody mess, Cage’s face, jacket and hands are full of blood. He is sent to jail. His stepmother drinks a martini from a large glass, her (elongated) face filled with glee.

The movie stops and the lights are turned on. John, who’s suffering from bladder issues, hurries to the loo. He returns and we wait.

The movie starts again. By now we agree that the picture shouldn’t be elongated, this isn’t some artistic element, but an error with the projector. And the good news is: it has been fixed!

Cage enters the theatre, chats with his girlfriend. We in the audience applaud, as these are the normal, fat versions of Cage and Dern. Gregg Dandridge approaches the couple, the young man throws him to the floor, grabs him by the ears and bangs his head on the marble steps. Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! And again: Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! The man’s skull audibly cracks wide open. Disgusting amounts of blood, bone and gore spray all over the place. Red blood runs down the stairs. Cage is soaked with blood. He is sent to jail and his stepmother drinks a martini from a large glass, her hands shaking and her face filled with glee.

Alas, the sound was missing. The lights go on again, then after five minutes out again. Some members of the audience get up and leave.

Cage enters the theatre, chats with his girlfriend. We can hear what they’re saying, but why are they so strangely elongated? Dandridge approaches the couple, the young man bangs his head on the marble steps. Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! We can see the pain in his face up to the moment of this horrible, agonizing death. Disgusting amounts of blood and gore spray all over the place. Red blood runs down the stairs.

The movie stops. We wait in the dark. The lights go on, then off again. The door opens and a woman appears. “There is a problem with the projector. We are fixing it.” Without a word of apology she bangs the door shut behind her.

Cage enters the theatre. He throws the black man to the floor, and bangs his head on the marble steps. Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! It is unbearable to watch the final seconds of the man’s life. The man’s skull audibly cracks open, his eyes are filled with fear, then stare into the void as his spirit is erased forever. Cage looks like a war criminal, a disgusting grin on his bloody and yes, elongated visage. Not a word is said, not a sound can be heard. In silence, the stepmother pours a martini from an elongated glass into her elongated mouth.

The movie stops. John and I, and the final remnants of the audience, stare at the dark screen. Soon the carnage starts again. And again. And again.

Cage enters the theatre. The label in his neck shows that his snakeskin jacket originates from a company named “Feeblebert”. He throws the assassin to the floor and bangs his head on the marble steps. Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Bang!! Dern lets go of an inaudible scream, her third molar on the left needs dental work. It is unbearable to watch the final seconds of the assassin’s life, especially since he put his t-shirt on the wrong way. He stares into the void as his spirit is erased forever. Cage looks like a mass murderer, a disgusting grin on his bloody visage. The reflection of a camera is clearly visible in his left eye. Not a word is said, not a sound can be heard. In silence, Diane Ladd pours a martini from an elongated glass into her elongated mouth.

We see that same scene fourteen times. Never before, and probably never again, has a movie managed to convey the truth about death in such a powerful way. An absolute masterpiece. That is what cinema is about.

Holy holy holy
Maria Magdalena

Originally posted 2021-12-04 18:24:00.

Movie Time. What I have been watching. And a new release by Natalie Rodriguez.

Due to corona times, for the past months my attention has fully been focused on home-based activities and work, which I actually enjoyed. I’ve been painting and working on my books, a job which continues to be rather thrilling.

But, I have also spent time watching MOVIES. As a fan of cinema (see my latest picks and highest rated movies at IMDB), I am happy that I found time to watch some true gems. I’ve been especially trawling through YouTube. This is not as easy as it sounds, as some of the best movies aren’t listed by movie title, but by some unrelated (and sometimes obscure) description, AND it is hard to browse through the movies on YouTube. Yet, here are my top three picks:

  • Lifeboat by Alfred Hitchcock. A propaganda movie from 1944, Based on a story by John Steinbeck, so high quality. Survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the Germans who sunk it.
  • Call Northside 777 by Henry Hathaway. With James Stewart. A newspaper reporter is put on an extraordinary ad for information about a murder case that happened years ago.

New!

My social media activities about cinema aren’t unnoticed. I get many requests for reviews of art, literature and movies – alas for time reasons I have to reject most :-( Here’s an exception: I was contacted by Natalie Rodriguez, an independent  writer, director, and producer in Los Angeles. She wrote, directed, and produced a movie, “The Extraordinary Ordinary,” a thoughtful story about issues that affect actual people – exactly the kind of story that I like. Its focus is on trauma and mental health during youth, an issue that affects more and more young adults (even in the absence of corona). Definitely worthwhile to watch, both gripping and positive. 

Check it out! its available on Amazon Prime, Google Play, wand YouTube. Official Trailer via Extraordinary Pictures: https://youtu.be/anig92Vjuvo 

I am sure we will hear more from Natalie Rodriguez.

Interested in some cool adventure books? Find them here at Apple Books / iTunes.

Originally posted 2020-09-08 17:33:58.

Popcorn at the Movies. How to embarrass yourself in public.

Years ago, my sons and I visited the cinema. Traditionally we always got some snacks and drinks, and my youngest son (ten at the time) accidentally referred to popcorn as cockporn.

I haven’t been able to order a bucket of popcorn in the cinema since, as at once I started to copy this error. Now I am even afraid to mention cockpo… popcorn in any public situation.

Worse yet, I had a marketing colleague who continuously mixed up YouTube with an infamous porn channel with a very similar name. To bypass this embarrassment, he started posting all marketing videos to Vimeo.

close up shot of spilled popcorn
Photo by Terrance Barksdale on Pexels.com

Originally posted 2019-12-21 19:49:00.

Pop pickers and music fans: “All by Myself” isn’t all by myself at all.

I’ve been spending quality time viewing and listening to works by Sergei Rachmaninoff on YouTube (played by Anna Fedorova, the great Ukrainian pianist). Fantastic music, and even I can see that it is extremely challenging to play this.

Surprise, surprise: one piece sounded a bit familiar, and as it turned out, the 1975 smash hit All by Myself,” a song by American artist Eric Carmen is based on the second movement (Adagio sostenuto) of Sergei’s Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, opus 18 (1901).

Seems Eric should have titled his song and changed the lyrics to “Not by Myself, but by Sergei” – which admittedly isn’t very catchy and might not have lead to a top 20 ranking in the hit parade.

By the way, during my exploration of Rachmaninoff’s work, I also discovered that his music is also used in the beautiful ice skating scene in Ronin; that action packed John Frankenheimer thriller with Robert DeNiro – one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.

Originally posted 2019-12-14 22:00:00.

Weird Successes and Failures that will enhance your cinematic experience.

I have been looking at a couple of articles that, although not real news, may be interesting for you to take a quick glance at, even if only superficially.

I stumbled across an article about a Bodybuilder from Germany, Ralf Moeller, who became quite a celebrity in Hollywood. You can read more about this 1.96cm celeb here. Ralf made quite a success of himself.

From there it was (however) only a small step to a list of the worst movies ever, some of which feature (drumroll – but no surprise whatsoever)… Adam Sandler. This depressed me no end; just imagine spending years to write, act, direct, edit and market a movie; all that time & effort, to then be featured in a list of the worst movies or actors ever. Life is cruel.

The discrepancy between the worst movies in that list and the movies that bomb at the box-office is intriguing. I actually kinda linked The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Blade Runner 2049, Hello Dolly and One from the Heart. But none of those made a lot of money. Sad! The audience is merciless.

Better quickly turn the page on that unsavory topic, and zoom in on some of the best movies ever made – especially the country lists contains some gems: the Dutch Turkish Delight (an early work by the famous Hollywood director Paul Verhoeven), Australia’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the UK’s The Third Man and Lawrence of Arabia. All absolute favorites of mine.

I saw two movies this week: A Star Wars movie and The mountain between us. I enjoyed both, the former because the makers managed to reinvent the series yet again; the latter because two excellent actors excel in a very intimate what-if, end-of-world scenario. Naturally, the idea of being left on a deserted mountain is close to my heart (as reflected in my novels, see the section “books”)

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Originally posted 2017-12-18 00:03:28.

My list of the best movies & series ever made in the History of Humankind!

Cinema – hard to imagine life without it. Pronounced close to death for years… but nevertheless artists keep on cranking out movies, and good ones too. Why do people enjoy cinema so much? A cinema is a unique place: you visit it with dozens of people, no need to talk, great for a first date, and (added bonus) you have to switch off your mobile. To keep track of all the movies, and some of the television series and shows that I’ve seen, I began creating a list many many years ago.

What makes a great movie?

I’ve seen hundreds of movies over the past 50+ years. The first-ever movie was Mary Poppins, I was a boy of 5 or 6, and going to the city cinema with my parents and older brother and sister was an amazing experience, engraved in my memory. Shortly after that: the Sound of Music. No wonder I still rate these two movies as top of the list. The miracle has never left me. From The Godfather, to Young Frankenstein, all the way to Hannah Arendt and Bohemian Rhapsody… I love cinema.

One key criterium for a great movie is great acting. Charlotte Rampling, Harrison Ford, Stephane Audran, Robert Mitchum, Isabelle Hupert – these actors immerge in their roles so that you actually believe they are the character. Great directing. Francis F. Coppola, Martin Scorsese, John Ford, Margarethe von Trotta,… all these directors managed to great a convincing, wholeness, an consistent atmosphere. A great movie also depends on a great storyline, which may be fantastic and absurd, but which is totally consistent within itself. Most of all, a great movie is memorable. Many movies are utterly forgettable, interchangeable. Good movies you will never forget, even when they were made on the tinniest budget, even with unknown actors.

Based on this handful of criteria, I continuously rank all the movies and series that I watch (current count: 600). Here you can find a list of my favorite movies – ranked. And here you can find the movies that I watched recently, rated but unranked.

My love of cinema is reflected in my books. All my prose is intended to trigger a movie in your head. Find out more: www.clemenssuter.com/books

Originally posted 2019-12-01 19:30:00.

Ten Tips how to use YouTube for eBook and Art Marketing. Check out my video channel on Youtube.

With an unbeatable 3 million hits for my top video, this YouTube Channel has to be COOL: Clemens P. Suter Video Channel.

With more than a quarter of a million videos uploaded per day, more than a thousand years required to view all excisting videos, more than 100 million videos watched daily, and more than 300 million users accounts, YouTube continues to amaze. It is among the most popular sites in the world and the second most popular search engine after Google. Compared to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or Tictoc (all channels that I also use for promotion or as a consumer), YouTube may be a prime channel to reach your readers… but it is also highly complex. Stilll, using it for marketing is worth the effort.

How to get started

  • Many people might consider YouTube and video-making as highly complex, and this can be a tremendous blocker to get started. Reduce your expectations to yourself and your first videos. Just get going!
  • Making a movie can be done with any smartphone, this is extremely simple. You dont need any special equipment. You don’t need to be a technical eypert.
  • People value content. This content could be the story that the video brings across, but it can also be you, as a person. So, as an author you may interview yourself about your latest book, a campaign, or ideas about writing. I have filmed myself explaining the content of my blogposts. Bringing a point across by speaking is in many cases more effective (in comparison to written text).
  • Keep the video short (1-2 minutes) and simple. Dont try to be perfect. In many cases, the very first take will be the best… even if it contains a slip-up.
  • Be authentic. Just be you. Smiling helps, but many of us aren’t natural smilers. Still, don’t fake it.
  • Thus, creation of the video will take some thought, but theoretically, you can film it within half an hour, and then be ready for upload.
  • If you have a google account, your are all set for YouTube too. Uploading can be done within minutes, but you will need to spend some time to enhance the video with useful information:
  • Use a title that contains the right buzzwords and is attractive for viewers.
  • In your description of the video, summarize the contents shortly, and try to make people curious. Include a call to action: for instance you can ask people to visit your website. Put that link in the first 2-3 sentences of the description (not at the bottom… where it won’t be noticed).
  • You can also add some background music, YouTube offers this for free.
  • Once this information has been included, your video can go live. At this stage nothing much will happen; unless you are famous already. Few people will notice your video. So you will need to use social media to direct people to the video. 
  • Don’t stop with one video. You will have to build a portfolio of videos; and not all will be hits. Learn from the ones that are performing best!

Check out more here: www.clemenssuter.com/books

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Originally posted 2017-11-02 02:36:02.