Cinemascopes: Leo

July 23 – August 23

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 Leo season, and the film world is getting into it — I see you Jon Favreau, strategically releasing The Lion King (2019) right in time for these fire signs to revel in their “king of the jungle” identities! Leo’s our second fire sign of the year — this season, charisma, confidence, and flamboyance reign supreme.

If you’re in Melbourne, you should know that the entirety of the Melbourne International Film Festival occurs during this season, providing you with ample opportunities to stunt at its various parties and events. Wear your loudest, most extra outfits — this is not the season to be a shrinking violet.

Be unapologetic

Do your damn thing! Like Leo actress Viola Davis said, “I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me.” Ride this season’s wave of extroversion and (over)confidence — Leo is ruled by the sun, and if it doesn’t apologise for shining, neither should you.

Leo’s love for attention causes many to describe them as show-offs, arguing that they’re arrogant rather than confident — but fuck it, ‘tis the season, so take a loud and extroverted approach to both the content and aesthetic of your film work. Shameless flamboyance is the name of the game.


Actor-director Melvin van Peebles, best known for his unapologetically political 1971 film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.


I make a film like I cook for friends. I hope they like it, but if they don’t, I’m prepared to enjoy it all by myself.


Leo has some eminent, respected actors under its sign — including Robert De Niro, Viola Davis, Halle Berry, Mae West, Angela Bassett, Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Antonio Banderas, Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, Edward Norton, and Wesley Snipes. These actors are committed and hard-working — as Angela Bassett puts it, they “don’t settle for average” — and their approach reflects the dedicated, loyal nature of the fixed sign Leo.

Homework: study the career of Mae West, who worked hard to build her own career by writing films (and plays!) for herself to star in; read this list of intense method-acting stuff De Niro did to commit to his glory-days roles; watch Amy Adams in pretty much anything. Whatever you’re working on, follow through and don’t falter. Be fearless.


Lucille Ball, who has so many Leo quotes (“I dyed my hair this crazy red to bid for attention”; “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line”) that it was hard to pick just one.


I’m not funny. What I am is brave.” 

Be playful

Be direct and fiery, but be able to laugh at yourself! Sunny and extroverted, Leos can goof around too. As Leos like Lucille Ball, Lisa Kudrow, Rose Byrne, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, and Steve Carrell demonstrate, confidence and hard work don’t have to equate to self-seriousness. 


Taika Waititi, a master of comedy, flamboyance, and facetious arrogance. Remember what I said about Leos doing the most with their outfits? His floral-print rompers = case in point.


[from Twitter, captioning a picture of himself]

Sorry you’re not me. #god

In closing — Leo and film

Leos can be loud and exuberant, but it’s not empty swagger — with their drive, commitment, and independent spirits, they have good reason to celebrate themselves. There’s nothing wrong with being confident and expressing self-love! Goodness knows young filmmakers neck-deep in imposter syndrome could stand to take a few notes from the flamboyant, unapologetic Leos in the industry. Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission. Be your #1 fan, commit deeply to your art, and make it audacious. It’s time to turn heads.

Recommended viewing: Thor: Ragnarok (2017), a collaboration between Oceanic Leos Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth. The film’s playful energy and loud, attention-grabbing, ‘look-at-me’ aesthetic makes it a true standout amongst an otherwise nightmarishly dull slate of superhero movies (outshining is second nature to a Leo!). If you’re in Melbourne, catch it at MIFF’s Goldblum Marathon this month and bask in its Leo flashiness.


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 also makes lil videos. Contact her at

Ivana Brehas

Ivana Brehas (a.k.a. Joaquin Shenix) is a writer and filmmaker living on Wathaurong land. She is a co-founder of Rough Cut, and has written for Dazed, Kill Your Darlings, Senses of Cinema, The Big Issue, 4:3 and more. She is a graduate and a dropout. Contact her at