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.
While July brought rather small films to sparsely visited theatres, August attracts our interest with a number of blockbusters and big names: long awaited new movies from Almodovar, Michael Mann and Tarantino are finally shining on the big screens and demanding attention along with some humbler but not at all less interesting work…
There is „The Good, the Bad, the Weird“ („Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom”) from Korea’s film industry, which consistently comes up with interesting productions. This time it’s a postmodern and amazingly reprocessed variation of the good old Spaghetti-Western – the story about three rival outlaws and adventurers, who get the opportunity for a typical Aries-competition, while hunting for the same treasure…
With “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra“ more than 40 years of history in popular culture are finding their way to cinema this August. Designed in 1964 as modern toy soldiers and “Barbie for boys”, the action figures became the fantastic heroes of comic-books and animated TV-shows. “G.I. Joe” is the name for a dangerous special unit, which is constantly fighting against “Cobra”, an unscrupulous arms producer with great ambition for power and a desire for destruction (a hint of Pluto), who appropriately named his enterprise MARS. The beginning of this battle comes to the big screen with lots of explosions and special effects, with fast-paced editing and rapid chases.
In Claude Chabrol’s “Bellamy” Gérard Depardieu plays a weighty man of pleasure, who loves to eat and drink, hates changes and above all wants to have some peace and quiet. For that reason he spends his vacation just like every year at the countryside instead of traveling abroad (as his wife would like to) – a textbook example of a Taurus-character. But Bellamy is also a cop and just in the middle of his tranquil holiday not only a possible murderer appears at his doorstep, fascinating Bellamy with his story, but also a half-brother he doesn’t like. And thus Taurus is challenged by all kinds of Scorpio-things.
Pedro Almodovar’s films always provide a very special sensual delight.
Hardly any other director seems to enjoy and stage the colors and shapes
of everyday life with so much pleasure in such a perfect manner. For that
reason alone his movies always exude, among others, Taurus-energy. Yet
in content as well he’s dealing with Taurus-topics (although never
without an Uranian touch) like love and (in-)security, Eros and beauty,
the fear of dramatic changes and the far-reaching treatment of their long-term
“ Broken Embraces” (“Los abrazos rotos”) too, is a film of abundance in the sensual as well as in the emotionally substantial sense – and just as everything from this exceptional director, it cannot be reduced to one-dimensional interpretation. In his latest work Almodovar toys with different layers of reality and identity and plays a trick on Taurus’s earthly attachment by confronting us with the sometimes beneficial Pisces-concept of “All is One”…
Although being a war-movie and thus emphasizing Aries, like every other movie by Quentin Tarantino „Inglorious Basterds“, aside from intelligently staged Aries-visuals, takes dialogue, references and quotations into focus, thus obtaining a clear Gemini-tone. Clever and entertaining storytelling makes “Inglorious Basterds” a dazzling display of amazing characters, sharp dialogue and quirky ideas. And the plot about a special unit of the US-army, which, under the command of Brad Pitt alias Lieutenant Aldo Raine brutally and successfully is hunting down Nazis in occupied France, certainly is going to boost the coolness factor of anti-fascism far more than any previous historical film version of the subject.
„Brothers Bloom“ is a story about storytelling, about clever
lies and cunning deceit, by which two brothers struggle through life, along
the way fooling millionaires out of their money, but not without showing
them an amazing time. It is a Gemini-story with Pisces-elements in which
the two brothers take different roles: the older one is the mastermind,
concocting the plot (Gemini!), while the younger plays out the roles his
brother meant for him and loses himself in them until he eventually tires
of feeling uncertain about his identity (Pisces!). Their therefore last
coup teams them up with a lonely millionaire heiress, who collects hobbies
out of boredom, adopting an assortment of skills from skateboarding to
card tricks, and it – seemingly – revolves around a precious
Actually “Under The Same Moon” (“La Misma Luna”) is a road movie about intercultural connections, thus related to Sagittarius. Also the courage and optimism of the little boy show Sagittarius-quality, when after the death of his grandmother with whom he lives, he sets out on the long journey from Mexico to Los Angeles, to search for his mother, who’s illegally working there. But there is also the child’s deep longing for his mum, there are the soulful telephone conversations between mother and son and the very plain, yet not at all sentimental, expression of human emotion, which altogether lends the heartrending story a definite Cancer-quality.
A controversial and difficult topic between care and responsibility
(Cancer and Capricorn) is tackled by the film “My Sister’s
Keeper”: The life of the Fitzgerald family is tragically turned
upside down when two-year-old Kate is diagnosed with Leukemia and it
becomes evident that her further survival can only be secured with constant
donations of blood, bone marrow and organs by a family member. Anna is
born to provide the donations needed by her sister, but eventually the
eleven-year-old rebels against her further use as a “spare parts
warehouse” and turns to a lawyer. Especially her mother refuses
to acknowledge Anna’s rights over her own body and a dramatic family
It’s Showtime: In “Luck by Chance” two young people pursue their dreams of fame and glamour in India’s film industry. This is the source for a lavishly outfitted story with lots of drama around all kinds of vanity, flattery and diva-like egocentricity – the pitfalls of fame and love of audience and the less rewarding aspects of Leo. But its life-loving and radiant side is not missed out: there are cheerful dance scenes, music and colorful imagery to express the other typical Leo-motifs like lust for life, self-fulfillment and creativity.
About twenty years ago Stephen Frears enthused audiences with “Dangerous
Liaisons”, now again he shows us a sumptuously photographed film
dedicated to the splendor of times past. “Cheri” is about
the luxurious life of rich, aging courtesans in Fin-de-Siècle
Paris – a Leo-film with strong emphasis on Venus. Michelle Pfeiffer
and Kathy Bates play (brilliantly!) two formerly rivaling, meanwhile
generous friends, who live a life of suppressed emotion, veiled by appearance,
pride and effective self-presentation (the less confident sides of Leo).
Lea (Michelle Pfeiffer) has an affair with her friend’s son, who
is 25 years her junior, and the play of seduction evolves into great
love. The ego-endangering game of hearts is gorgeously staged, passion
and drama ensue, but the movie always retains a light tone of playfulness.
Although „9to5: Days in Porn“ seems to be a film about THE Scorpio-topic par excellence, it is mainly a non-voyeuristic and non-judgmental documentation of everyday life and work in the adult film production industry and thus a true Virgo-film. In a down-to-earth manner and far from the media-effective extremes and clichés of victims and sex-machines or sex-beasts, it reports about people, who make their living in front of and behind the cameras of an entertainment business grossing billions of dollars, while they pursue their average dreams of fame and fortune and lose illusions.
Sandra Bullock’s comical talent once again shows in one of the more amusing typical Hollywood-romantic comedies of the year. In “The Proposal“ the likeable Leo plays a tough and bitchy boss, who can only avoid being deported from the US because of her Visa status by forcing her assistant to marry her. At first egotistic Aries and authoritarian Capricorn here are getting into the way of the Libra-typical relationship-among-equals, but a trip to the forced fiancé’s family softens them with emotional Cancer-energy and very Libra-like a happy ending with small impediments follows.
Elegance and diplomacy are pivotal Libra-features both of which the protagonist of a new biopic aptly employs – in her private life as a means of cooperative emancipation from the role of male-dependent woman, in business for a culturally groundbreaking reshaping of women’s clothing and a redefinition of elegance as the absence of everything ornamental and obstructive. “Coco Before Chanel” (“Coco avant Chanel“) narrates a part of the famous fashion icon’s life. Her rise from orphanage-raised seamstress through a short and not very successful career as a singer to the revolutionary fashion designer aspiring to Paris’s high society is revealed in elegant and beautiful imagery, while the troubles and the hardships of the path just as well as the motif of reduction illustrate Venus’s confrontation with Saturn.
To spare the teenage son, who’s undergoing an exhausting treatment for Cancer, long hours of traveling, a family moves to a house nearby the hospital. It just so happens, the house was a mortuary once. The psychological confrontation with death in "The Haunting in Connecticut“ – a ghost story allegedly based on real events – is merged into a plot revolving around supernatural contacts with the afterlife, a necromantic doctor and his medium and the Scorpio-typical “skeletons in the closet” – only here they are residing in the living room. Guaranteed to give you the creeps and provide nightmarish images.
What does it mean to live in permanent danger, with the constant presence
of death and what consequences does such merciless pressure have for the
human psyche? In her intense and adrenaline-ridden character study “The
Hurt Locker” Hollywood’s most outstanding female action-director
(“Blue Steel”, “Point Break” etc.) Kathryn Bigelow
explores these questions by following an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
unit in Iraq through their daily routine. The grueling battle against invisible
adversaries, bombs hidden in corpses, the daily back-breaking tension – all
of this are analogies of Plutonian forces, which become violently palpable
in Bigelow’s almost surgically staged movie.
“Birdwatchers” (“BirdWatchers – La terra degli uomini rossi“) is a movie, which in an as entertaining as educating Sagittarius-manner expands our white, western horizons and delivers insight into the exotic world of an indigenous Amazon people. Rarely film industry and movie audiences really make use of the possibility to adopt unfamiliar and strange perspectives and thus attain wider world-views through the medium of film. “Birdwatchers” offers this opportunity by telling the story of a group of Guarani Indians, who settle at the border of a farm, that exists since three generations, to reclaim the stolen land, in which their ancestors are buried, from the colonialist’s offspring. The emerging Cancer- and Taurus-motifs – ancestral worship, estate etc. – complement to the underlying Sagittarius-topic of colonialism, different world-views and a global consideration of (inter-)cultural history.
Something intercultural of a more shallow kind is offered in the German bestseller-adaptation “Maria, He Doesn't Like It” (“Maria, ihm schmeckt’s nicht”), which tries to tie in with the success of movies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding“ (2002) and „2 Days in Paris“ (2007): A couple of different cultural backgrounds is confronted with the resulting strangeness and incompatibilities. But Sagittarius’s quality of expanding one’s limited horizons – here it happens through the family- and marriage-induced (therefore Cancer- and Libra-motivated) encounter with the foreign – in this simple culture-clash-comedy gets more of a provincial, suitable for TV instead of cosmopolitan and big-screen treatment.
“Killshot“ is almost an old-fashioned adaptation of your typical hardboiled novel (by Elmore Leonard), but that’s not the only Capricorn-feature it shows: Amidst scant landscapes the aging professional hit-man Armand „Blackbird“ Degas, burdened by guilt for his brother’s death, plans to retire after the latest killing resulted in a catastrophe. For the thus needed money he agrees to do one more hit, but sticking to his principles gets him into a deadly conflict with his employer. So the taciturn professional (clearly a Capricorn-character) decides to support a young and temperamental sociopath (a wild Mars) in his attempted extortion of a shady real estate broker. But instead of the desired success this enterprise leads to undesired witnesses, who in the following are to be disposed of, if only as a matter of principle…
“Horsemen“ is brought to the screen as a gloomy thriller, where an emotionally hardened widower and single father works as police detective, investigating a case, that establishes biblical connections and focuses on the motif of the four apocalyptic horsemen (war, famine, plague and death – all of which are symbolically linked to Saturn). The impression of Capricorn-energy is all the more strengthened because the grumpy cop is going about his duties in frosty January, the heavy conflict between father and son is not only determining their family life but the whole story and a victim’s ripped out teeth (teeth are a Capricorn/Aries-analogy) provide important evidence...
The artificial character of “Brüno” is gay, gaudy and quite goofy – certainly the amalgam of many a homophobic prejudice –, but with his artificiality and extravagance he’s also an incorporation of the sign of Aquarius. The movie, which is trying to be provocative with absurdities and silliness, that tend to be called “politically incorrect”, explores the Aquarius-spectrum from unconventional, sometimes truly unmasking satire to pure nonsense.
An outlaw, who just escaped from prison, arrogantly contemptuous of authorities,
who unflinchingly and in cold blood robs banks with his gang, and who has
a fondness for the newest technology in arms and fast cars – there
we have our textbook example of an Aquarius character. Michael Mann’s “Public
Enemies” stages the last year in the life of notorious American gangster
John Dillinger, whose dazzling personality is impressively impersonated
by Johnny Depp. Dillinger was charismatic and he not only attracted the
interest of the media, but also inspired public admiration, he even gained
a reputation as a modern Robin Hood, who took money only from the banks,
which had fallen out of favor anyway during the Great Depression (doesn’t
that ring a bell?). A luxury loving public hero then? That would establish
ties from Aquarius to Leo, yet Michael Mann’s well-known formalist,
disciplined and cool directorial style clearly emphasizes Saturnine Aquarius-energy.
The ghost of magical realism floats through the German film “Schreibe mir – Postkarten nach Copacabana” (no English title available, literally it translates into “Write to me – Postcards to Copacabana”), set mainly in Bolivia, when on the shore of a mountain lake a Bavarian youth bids farewell to his friends, all clad in traditional costume, then steps into the lake, walks through it under water around the world and emerges from the Titicaca lake, where in the little village of Copacabana he meets the love of his life. At least that’s the story fourteen-year-old Alfonsina’s grandmother tells – since she married the underwater-wanderer, she must know… Belief and superstition, cravings and dreams, the miracles of reality and the mysteries of life are the sensitively contemplated Pisces-topics, soaked in dreamy composition and enchanting shots of nature in this likeable, small film.
“Madness” is a frequently used word referring to “Love Exposure” (“Ai no mukidashi“), the latest film from Sion Sono, Japan’s most provocative director since Takashi Miike and Sejun Suzuki. “Cinematic fairy tale”, “bizarre” and “chaos” are others – all of them make me think of Uranus in Pisces. In almost four hours running time we watch a family man, who becomes a priest after his wife’s death and demands confessions of sexual perversions from his adolescent model boy-like son. We watch the operations of a mysterious sect called “Zero Church”, a teen gang exercising and trying to perfect the art of upskirt photography and much more. This is a film that includes everything: family drama and martial arts, romance and splatter, religious fanaticism and sexual obsessions. A film that dissolves not only genre limits but all cinematic conventions. And in the end for the most part it seems to be a wild and absurd meditation on the nature of love.
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