Cinemascopes: Virgo

August 23 – September 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.

The stereotype about Virgos is that they’re Monica from Friends — the girl who says things like, “Rules are good! Rules help control the fun!” and “Now, I need you to be careful and efficient. And remember: If I am harsh with you, it’s only because you’re doing it wrong.” — and you know what? It’s true! (Marta Kauffman, the creator of Friends, is a Virgo — she clearly knows what she’s talking about.)

The most organised, disciplined signs of the zodiac, Virgos like things neat and orderly. This is the season to focus, plan, analyse, and get shit done. That said, no sign is one-dimensional — Virgo energy doesn’t revolve entirely around colour-coding, schedules and binders. After all, they’re earth signs too, and a connection to nature and animal instincts is present this season.

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Trust your gut

Each sign rules a different part of the body. Virgo rules the stomach, meaning it governs intuition — the things you may not be able to explain logically, but that you feel ‘in your gut’. This season, take the time to listen to what your instincts and body are telling you. Try following these feelings wherever they take you. Remain adaptable; be open and receptive to change. 

Virgo is a mutable sign, meaning it’s fluid — capable of managing transitions and changes in situations. Tap into your intuitive self as you create, and flow with the shifting current of the world around you. Trees that don’t bend break, and all that.

VIRGO INSPIRATION

Bong Joon-ho, director of films like Parasite (2019), Okja (2017) and Snowpiercer (2013). His work is so unpredictable and unclassifiable that it’s led some to describe him as a genre of his own. Rather than following pre-set storytelling conventions, Bong Joon-ho allows his own internal compass to guide him.

KEY QUOTE

My favourite genre lies inside myself, and as I follow my favourite stories, characters, and images, it sums up to a certain genre. So at times even I have to guess which genre a film will be after I’ve made it.

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(Microsoft) Excel

Although you’re following your instincts, that doesn’t mean you don’t need any sort of plan. Improvisation works best when the improviser is prepared, well-researched, and organised. Let’s be practical here — it’s not Pisces season (Virgo is in fact the furthest sign from Pisces).

Virgos are known for their discipline and structure — see Queer Eye’s Virgo interior designer Bobby Berk, the master of household organisation; or Beyoncé, one of the most notoriously controlled and calculated Virgo figures of our time.

Are they control freaks? Maybe. Whatever. (“No matter where I am working, I cannot make a film without 100% creative control and final cut.” — Bong Joon-ho again) But at the end of the day, they have a Vision, and they know that they’re the ones to execute it! (“All the films I do, I write the scripts, I direct.” — Ava DuVernay, Virgo) Why are you hating, anyway? They’re certainly not bothered about you. They’re too focused on getting the job done. (“When you’re in your lane, there’s no traffic.” — Ava DuVernay again, still Virgo.)

So take a page out of their Type-A book and get your shit together. Fire up Excel — it’s spreadsheet season, baby! I know, you’re an artist, but if you want to actually execute your vision, it might not hurt to come prepared. Do some work. Think things through. Have a plan — that’s what gives you the freedom to improvise, anyway. 

VIRGO INSPIRATION

Virgo director David Fincher, known for doing countless takes to ensure he gets each shot just right. He averaged 50 takes per scene on Gone Girl (ultimate Virgo film), and recently did 75 takes of a single scene in Mindhunter. You say pedantic, he says precise.

KEY QUOTE

I’d rather be prepared and bored than excited and, you know, haemorrhaging cash and looking like a fucking moron.

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Team up

Virgo x Virgo teams work well, likely because they match each other in work ethic and devotion. Both focused on achieving the best result possible, they can be good at compromising and self-sacrificing in the interests of the final product. What I’m saying is — if you’re a Virgo, find another Virgo to work with this season.

First, a warning! When Virgo director Brian De Palma and Virgo writer Oliver Stone teamed up, we got Scarface (1983), which — for all its problems — is a very ostentatious and pretty film, and probably took a lot of hard work. But Stone, who also worked with Virgo director Hal Ashby on 8 Million Ways to Die (1986), is a notoriously obsessive perfectionist.

His harsh, demanding standards may create pretty films like Scarface, but they also cause suffering and cruelty. Such behaviour has flourished under Hollywood’s auteur-tyranny-enabling complex, but it’s not excusable. Virgo or not, don’t take such an aggressive, bossy, judgmental figure as your role model.

Instead, look to these examples of healthy Virgo alliances:

  1. Born one day apart, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are both Virgos, and I think we can all agree that their collaborations are legendary (Bridget Jones’s Diary, hello)!
  2. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are both Virgos. They’ve only co-starred in one film so far — This Means War (2012) — but wow, James Bond is shaking! A movie about two guys employing expensive schemes, elaborate planning, and weirdly controlling spy strategies for something as trivial as getting a date? Creepy, bad, and gross, yes, but the tactical approach is very Virgo.
  3. In an ICONIC move, Virgo actor Armie Hammer teamed up with himself in Virgo director David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010), playing twins. He’s not the first to do this: Virgo actor Jeremy Irons did the same thing in Dead Ringers (1988), as did fellow Virgo Lily Tomlin in Big Business that same year. Even Tom Hardy collaborated with himself in Legend (2015)! But the MVV (Most Valuable Virgo): Tatiana Maslany, who plays a whopping 14 characters in Orphan Black. Virgo fastidiousness to the max! “I’d rather do all the group work myself, because you’re gonna do it wrong” energy! Gemini who? Virgo duos are clearly where it’s at. 

Recommended viewing: My Own Private Idaho (1991) dir. Gus Van Sant, with an inimitable pair of Virgos — River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves — in its lead roles. Nothing more needs to be said.

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In closing — Virgo and film

Follow your intuition in your artistic pursuits this season. See where your instincts take you, and prepare enough that you feel comfortable straying from the plan. If you’re struggling to go it alone, find support — team up with a Virgo. Maybe they’ll help you draft an action plan, or like, do your taxes or something.

But most of all: avoid the trap of perfectionism. I joked about Virgos being “control freaks”, but seriously, being too controlling or perfectionist will be the death of you. It’s never worth it. Be organised, but have compassion for yourself. (And for others! Don’t be an autocrat.)

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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 www.ivanabrehas.com.

Ivana Brehas

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.