March 20 – April 20
CINEMASCOPES (cinema + horoscopes) approaches film through an astrological lens, and vice versa. Published in seasonal instalments, the series explores how astrology can be made intelligible through film, and considers how the energy of each astrological season might be applied to how we watch and make films.
It’s Aries season! As the first sign of the zodiac, take this as a time of (re)birth. Aries is a fire sign — a source of energy, and of cleansing. This season is a good time to go for it — to jump into new projects and explore new ideas.
On a tangible level, you might take advantage of this by cleaning your room, or, I don’t know, getting a haircut or something — embracing the ‘fresh-start’ vigor of the season — but what might an Aries approach to film look like?
Don’t think, do
If you’re a filmmaker, ‘cleansing’ might mean cleaning your slate in a more figurative way — decluttering your mind, or your chaotic laptop, and finding your focus. And then there’s ‘energy’ — channel your anger and passion into something productive.
Embrace the season’s fiery spontaneity and drive, and make something! There is no time to waste on self-doubt in Aries season; now is the time to act. Be active! Be confident! Slough off restraint and fear, propel yourself forward, and put those ideas you have into motion.
Follow in the footsteps of Aries filmmakers like the gung-ho Boots Riley, the ever-enterprising Reese Witherspoon, or the improvisational, risk-taking Andrea Arnold (consider the spontaneous sensibilities of American Honey). Other Aries filmmakers worth exploring include Akira Kurosawa, Karyn Kusama, Andrei Tarkovsky, Francis Ford Coppola, and Nicole Holofcener.
Confidence is key
I speak now especially to those who have been ‘othered’ and discouraged from authoritative roles in film — assert your directorial voice. You can make a film, and you do know what you’re doing. Don’t wait for permission or validation from others.
Recommended reading: ‘When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision’, by Adrienne Rich (not an Aries, and not a film-related text at all, but a great text for periods of creative rebirth).
Lady Sarah from The Favourite (2018) knows what she wants and goes for it — a fine cinematic example of Aries energy if ever I’ve seen it.
“Sometimes a lady likes to have some fun.”
Okay, maybe think a little bit
Aries’ ruling planet is Mars — historically the god of war, now considered the planet that governs our anger, aggression, energy and enterprise — which is why this sign is always coming in so hot. Aries energy tends towards thinking less and acting more, which can be a blessing when it means ‘taking initiative’ and a curse when it means ‘being reckless’.
Harness Aries’ ambitious momentum this season, but be sure to temper your fervor with consideration and thoughtfulness. Know why you’re rushing into things, and when you shouldn’t.
Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos (played by Michael Imperioli, an Aries!) exemplifies this tension between drive and impulsivity.
“It’s not like I’m gettin’ somewheres playin’ by the rules.”
Aries energy isn’t just about being confident and assertive with others, or being a sexy goth dom in a lesbian love triangle — it’s also about self-confidence, and asserting your worth.
Look to Queer Eye’s resident Aries, Jonathan van Ness, as a shining example of inner confidence and self-care. (Told you Aries season was about cleansing!)
“I want people to fall in love with themselves and to be really proud and full of joy for the space they take up. If someone else appreciates the space you take up, then that’s icing on the cake.”
In closing — Aries and film
I listed some Aries filmmakers earlier, but there’s also a multitude of gorgeous actors born under this sign, including Saoirse Ronan, Asa Butterfield, Ben Mendelsohn, Natasha Lyonne, Diana Ross, and Emma Thompson. See where you can find Aries energy in their work — you could start with the fiery Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll, or Ben Mendelsohn being reckless in basically anything, or Diana Ross oozing self-confidence in also basically anything.
Aries season is an exciting, fiery, and energetic time. Look to Aries filmmakers and actors for inspiration, and allow this to be a time of bravely embarking on new projects and ideas.
Recommended viewing: 10 Things I Hate About You. Not only was it released in Aries season; its two main characters — an assertive, impulsive, reckless boy (Heath Ledger) and a blunt, strong-willed, “tempestuous” girl (Julia Stiles) — are both played by Aries actors. With its edgy spirit, its tenacious, hot-headed leads, and its high-energy soundtrack, it’s the perfect film to fuel your fire this season.
Ivana Brehas (a.k.a. Joaquin Shenix) is a writer and filmmaker living in Naarm (Melbourne). She has written for Dazed, Much Ado About Cinema, The Big Issue, 4:3 and more. She is currently completing her MA in Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing at the University of Melbourne. Contact her at www.ivanabrehas.com.