Last month's silver screen stars
The Cinemascope is meant to give an overview of current movies and their main themes from an astrosemiotical perspective (i.e.: regarding film as semiotic system and translating it into the astrological semiotic system). A well made movie not only has a story and a certain theme, it also provides a special atmosphere, a certain feeling and it draws us into its very own world. This basic quality that is contrived through characters, plot, setting and many other components also translates into one or more astrological principles. Quite simply: a fast-paced action-flick confronts us with plain Aries energy, a horror-movie evokes Scorpio-like abysmal depths and fears etc. We step out of the theatre and – if the film succeeded in sucking us in – find ourselves dwelling on and engaging in that special energetic quality.
Cinema frequently provides us with archetypes in their purest form. For example in “Fast & Furious“, the fourth installment of the series about illegal car races (finally Vin Diesel aka Dominic – “Dom”! – Toretto is back) the very title quotes the determining Aries-features that drive the beefy characters and fuel the plot: fast and furious.
The counterbalance to Mars is Venus and, set in a pleasant surrounding, the gentle drama “The Secret Life of Bees“ is about Taurus-topics like property and the security it can provide. The film embeds a Cancer-type family story in Taurus-type images. From ancient times honey is a traditional enhancer of beauty and a Venusian delicacy, and it is honey gathering, that allows – back in the eventful sixties – the black all-woman household in South Carolina a secure and unagitated life. Until they take in a white teenage girl, who is on the run from a disturbing family past…
In “Religioulous“ the American comedian Bill Maher travels around the world with light humor and the quintessential Gemini-credo “I know that I don’t know” in order to talk to members of various religious communities. Through the documented dialogues Maher wittily exposes the absurd behind many beliefs and occasionally even the embarrassing ridiculousness of some believers, while he counters every alleged religious truth with his statement “I preach the gospel of I don’t know“. Doubt as the sole possible insight – clearly a Gemini analogy.
There are yet two Cancer-type movies this month dealing with troublesome daughters returning to the bosom of their families. With a warm look “Rachel Getting Married” focuses on the web of relationships in a big, multicultural patchwork-family and the ways they cope with the challenging appearance of troubled drug addict Kym at her sister’s wedding.
“ Ob ihr wollt oder nicht” (“Whether or not you want to”), a heartwarming, courageously emotional and funny drama, is about a young woman who has cancer, leaves chemotherapy and her beloved husband and returns to her family’s home to spend the time she has left with her sisters and parents.
Based on true characters and events “Cadillac Records” tells about a different sort of family with a paternalistic center. In 1947 a white music producer starts recording blues music and turns musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry into stars. In true Leo-style the movie celebrates the music and the glamour of the stars-to-be and their manager, who likes to make a show of his generosity and present his stars with shiny cars.
A world without any glamour is shown in “Wasser und Seife” (“Water and Soap”). Again it’s already the very title, that reveals the Virgo-quality. The documentary observes the laborious and poorly paid daily grind of three women providing laundry-services amidst hot steam and noisy ironing machines in Hamburg-Flottbeck, where they dream their humble dreams (Pisces’ balance for too much Virgo) between closing time and early start of work in social housing flats...
In the comedy “I Love You, Man“ an overfriendly and very civilized man meets a slightly rough but emotionally authentic guy, who doesn’t care about the conventions of social harmony. By means of the blossoming friendship between these two very different men, the movie presents a lightweight attempt on Libra-motifs like complement and (excessive) Other-orientedness.
In the elegant and hilarious crime-story “Duplicity” social conventions are being ignored by a manipulating couple carrying out their relationship and power struggle in criminal but profitable ways in the field of industrial espionage: Julia Roberts and Clive Owen working on Scorpio-issues in a very Libra-like way.
One of the most favored Scorpio-motifs in film is revenge. “Wolverine”, titled after a character known from the “X-Men”-movies and the graphic novel of the same name, traces the origins of the character, which are marked by cruelty and a thirst for revenge, making his unfailing healing ability only one of many Scorpio-characteristics. Untamable rage, caused by the brutal murder of his lover, makes Logan, the mutant with blades in his hands, agree to the transformation of his skeleton into indestructible metal and an enhancing of his animal instincts and thus changes him into Wolverine, one of the most interesting and loved graphic novel heroes in popular cinema.
The fiery enthusiasm that accompanies Philip Seymour Hoffman’s and Bill Nighy’s mission in spreading popular rock music by pirate broadcasting in “The Boat That Rocked”, makes me rather think of lively Sagittarius than of cool Aquarius despite the rebel-attitude – after all, they are broadening horizons and not only are they constantly on the move, they are starting a movement. The connection to music (and to the sea, the missionary pirates are cruising) is defined by Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius, who as the former ruler of Pisces also introduces the all-connecting quality of the Muses.
Of such gaudy colorfulness “John Rabe” offers not a glimpse. On the contrary: muted colors, dark war sceneries and a morality-tale about duty, responsibility and conscience, questions of right and wrong, based on historical events and persons, make this war-epic a truly Capricornian film. Aiming directly at the spectators’ emotional responses though, the production clearly uses the opposed sign of Cancer as a means of communication and expression.
Sometimes the staging can change the main quality: Virtually a veritable Aries-movie with fast action and fight-scenes, rich on adrenaline, “Crank 2: High Voltage” is amplified with an Uranian element by the high-tension electricity Jason Statham’s character so urgently needs, in order to keep his artificial, forcibly implanted heart going. Combined with the hyper-nervous performance and camera style and a frenzied sequence of absurd, crazy and cranky ideas we get an Aquarius-accented, hysterically funny action movie.
Following traditional genre conventions in it’s structure and thus formally shaped by Saturnian features, the mystery thriller “Knowing” tells us about an inexplicable phenomenon a terrified astrophysicist gets confronted with: his little son is given a page of numbers that turn out to be the precise data of every major disaster from the last fifty years – written by a little girl fifty years before. Mysterious whisperer people emerge from nowhere, spiritual answers are pondered on the question of the randomness or determination of our world and even the typical Pisces-motifs sacrifice and salvation are not left out. After “Dark City” (1988) and “I, Robot”, director Alex Proyas again dedicates a film to the Neptunian and indistinct borderland of our perception of the world and of being human.
Vesna Ivkovic studied literature and linguistics, sociology, philosophy and history and as well took a profound interest in psychology, mythology and different belief systems. Along the way she also explored various paths of body awareness such as the martial arts of Kung Fu, Dance, Yoga, Qi Gong and several other methods of body work and motion arts. In 1993 she discovered astrology as an instrument of knowledge and graduated in 2004 in Markus Jehle's and Petra Niehaus' master class at the Astrology Center Berlin. You can find out more about the author and her work on her own website www.astrosemiotics.de