February 19 – March 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.
Our final Cinemascope takes place during the most sensitive season of them all. As this piece goes to publication, Honey Boy (2019) is still in cinemas, featuring sensitive Pisces Noah Jupe crying a lot in a film that is practically designed to make you cry anyway. Go and see it.
Pisces is the final sign of the karmic wheel, and one I often refer to as the “sign of death”. Don’t let this get you down: death does not signal finality and endings, but rather change, transformation, and transcendence. Pisces has one foot in the afterlife, and it’s magical there.
There are words that immediately come to mind when we talk about certain signs: “sex” for Scorpio, “food” or “sleep” for Taurus, “impulsive” for Aries. For Pisces, two of the biggest words are “empathy” and “sensitivity”. Pisces is a sea-sponge, feeling everything around them all the time forever. This is a beautiful trait, though holding all the troubles of the world (and never being able to emotionally detach from them) can sometimes become a difficult burden. Famously, we cry a lot.
Pisces are sad and concerned about everything because they could not imagine harming anything. This is what gives them their reputation for wanting to save others (some might call it a saviour-martyr complex), sometimes becoming drawn to relationships that are bad for them because they want to help a troubled soul. See: Pisces Kitty Winn disregarding her own suffering and focusing on Al Pacino’s needs in The Panic in Needle Park (1971). Be sure not to overextend yourself this season, but recognise the boundless depths of your own empathy.
The majorly empathetic Mr. Rogers.
“Love is like infinity: You can’t have more or less infinity, and you can’t compare two things to see if they’re ‘equally infinite.’ Infinity just is, and that’s the way I think love is, too.“
Okay, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Pisces are sensitive. But unfortunately, this fact has mutated into a stereotype of us all being wilting flowers. (Which, yes, we are, but not exclusively!) Being a sappy cry-baby isn’t the only way to be sensitive. Heightened sensitivity can also lead a Pisces to experience everyday existence, with its mundane, entrenched cruelties, as horror.
People sometimes describe Pisces as unable to handle reality (using wine and weed to escape it), but that’s because, unlike other signs, they cannot switch off their attunement to reality’s everyday horrors. They’re raw nerves, ultra-sensitive to any harm that occurs in the world. Lest we forget that Gone Girl (2015) — in which marriage itself is horror — was written by a Pisces.
From body-horror pioneer David Cronenberg, to Halloween fiend Matthew Gray Gubler, to Gomez Addams actors Oscar Isaac and Raúl Juliá (who share a birthday), it’s not only Pisces’ sensitivity, but also their close connection to death, that makes them well-attuned to the morbid and macabre. Why do you think they love Scorpios? (Looking at you, Eva Mendes.)
Jordan Peele, who has made a name for himself by finding the horror in the everyday — see Get Out (2017), starring Pisces Daniel Kaluuya, and Us (2019) starring Pisces Lupita Nyong’o. (He’s also married to a Pisces, Chelsea Peretti!)
“The best comedy and horror feel like they take place in reality.”
Being so strongly connected to the spirit world, Pisces are often mystical types, believers in the strange and supernatural — they take it seriously and don’t mock it. They recognise the limits of humanity’s capacity to know and understand everything, and believe that there is more magic out there than we know. They’re probably into astrology.
Watch the surreal work of Pisces filmmakers like Luis Buñuel and Pier Paolo Pasolini, or watch Laura Harring lose herself in the dream-world of Mulholland Drive (2001), or watch anything to do with spirit worlds, the afterlife, or realms beyond our own perception and understanding.
Kyle MacLachlan as kind-hearted dream-believer Special Agent Dale Cooper, who arrives in the town of Twin Peaks during Pisces season — February 24th. Cooper displays remarkable intuition; love for the natural world; and strong, heartfelt convictions about the importance of values like kindness, goodness and love. The Piscean energy of his personality is only buffeted by the mystical nature of his environment in Twin Peaks — a place where he feels instantly at home (and soon considers moving to). Only a Pisces would answer a question like “Who killed Laura Palmer?” with “Harry, let me tell you about a dream I had.”
[as Dale Cooper] “Following a dream I had three years ago, I have become deeply moved by the plight of the Tibetan people, and have been filled with a desire to help them. I also awoke from the same dream realizing that I had subconsciously gained knowledge of a deductive technique, involving mind-body coordination operating hand-in-hand with the deepest level of intuition.”
In closing — Pisces and film
The process of Pisces season is pretty simple and somewhat reminiscent of caterpillar-butterfly metamorphosis — cry, die, transform into a different being entirely. Rinse and repeat. Pisces undergo this process on, like, a weekly basis, because all they ever want to do in life is keep changing.
From this Pisces writer, at the end of our Cinemascopes series, thank you for reading. The column may be over, but before you know it we’ll be back in Aries season, reincarnated by its fres, singular, newborn energy. See you on the other side.
Ivana Brehas 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.