Is this year’s Venice Film Festival so extra-extra because everyone was letting off post-pandemic steam? Maybe. But it also coincides with an exuberant Mercury, Mars and Jupiter config.
You can see it in the over-the-top standing ovations (Brendan Fraser – six minutes, Bones and All – eight minutes, Colin Farrell – 13 minutes etc) and philosophical asides on the red carpet.
Mercury represents voice, transmission, words and messaging – every actor is an orator and publicists embody the mercurial hustler. Mars is the Warrior – think hostility, rivalry, drive and ambition.
They’ve been in tight alignment with Thunder God Jupiter, AKA Optimus Maximus, since the festival started on August 31. Cue raised volume, theatrical tension and a more competitive style edge.
The other astrological suspect for this year’s weirding? Lilith square Chiron. That’s epitomized by the Olivia Wilde-Florence Pugh-Harry Styles tabloid geisha debacle.
The Venice Film Festival itself is heading into a Pluto transit, one which could well compel it to address its dark, gaudy origins. Read on for explanations of each of these astro-factors.
Olivia Wilde At Heart
Double Piscean Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut – Don’t Worry Darling – has been a drama magnet. Her soon-to-be ex husband served legal papers on her mid-public-appearance and she is feuding with her leading lady, multiple Capricorn Florence Pugh. It’s been playing out over the festival, with every flounce and dark glance thoroughly documented.
Pugh is apparently unhappy over her director’s relationship with the highly Aquarian Harry Styles. It would be weird to be playing the love interest to the director’s lover. But could it also be a spot of moral judgement on Pugh’s part? She is an incredible talent but still pre-Saturn Return, an age when it is easier to scorn people for leaving marriages and other unruly behaviour.
The media has cast Wilde in the disruptive Lilith role – it helps that she is looking more and more like Magica de Spell by the day – and Harry Styles fans naturally see her as the predatory older woman. I like her: writing is her first passion – she has Mercury conjunct her Sun and changed her surname to Wilde as a teenager, to emulate her idol, Oscar Wilde.
This whole scene could have been pre-empted with some solid astrology applied at the casting stage: Olivia Wilde’s Sun-Mercury are conjunct Florence Pugh’s Saturn: Sun-Saturn synastry has some good points but for an essentially transient, super-condensed, short-term professional creative relationship? It’s terrible.
Wilde just has to be herself to prod Pugh’s sensitive points and in turn, the director would experience Pugh as a wet blanket. It’s the worst synastry for a creative collaboration that I can think of. You know who else has this alignment between them? Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy – his Saturn conjunct her Leo Sun. I rest my case.
Florence made her red carpet entrance in a frothy spangled Valentino number (see below) that allowed her to (as the Daily Mail would say) flaunt her legs. Yes the outfit is technically ‘breathtaking’ and so on but her Mars-Uranus in Capricorn would suit something sharper and more avant-garde.
Olivia turned up looking heliocentric, festooned in diamonds wearing a solar yellow Gucci dress “overlaid with rays of crystal embroidery.” She was either subconsciously going with a talismanic Sun look to fend off Saturn energy or an astrologer advised her.
Triple Scorpio Tilda Swinton was there with her characteristic military posture and new canary yellow hair: coincidentally, she is also Saturn transiting at the moment and yes, yellow/gold is the classic offset, sartorially at least.
Mia Goth (Scorp) and Isabelle Huppert (Pisces) gave excellent sunglasses-at-night attitude and stylewise, the always handsome Colin Farrell nonetheless vibed more like a secret service guy at a pan-national oil summit monitoring for credible threats. Maybe it’s a Gemini thing, they’re getting more into espionage ahead of Pluto in Aquarius.
The Virgo Supreme
But the undisputed supreme of Venetian film fest style is Jodie Turner-Smith. A blend of double Virgo fashion acumen and the chthonic chic of a Venus-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio, the White Noise star dazzled in Christopher John Rogers (above) and – the ultimate – formal denim. The latter was by Balmain but I don’t think anyone – excepting perhaps Rihanna – could pull it off as well as Turner-Smith did.
Aside: White Noise looks incredible: the novel, by triple-Scorpio (Sun, Mercury, Lilith) Don deLillo, was written and released in the early years of the Pluto in Scorpio era but the themes are more pertinent than ever. He apparently wanted to title the book “Panasonic” but the corporation vetoed it, understandably I guess.
Pluto, Facism + Venice Film Festival
The Venice Film Festival itself has interesting astrology. It was initiated in 1932 at the behest of facist dictator Benito Mussolini. It opened on August 6 with Uranus square Pluto, Jupiter conjunct Neptune in Virgo and Saturn at Zero Aquarius.
You can see how it reflects the times: the gathering tensions, an expansive vision and new cinematic technology. Pluto – lower, dark sublimated Plutonic forces – are associated with facism and this was Uranus in Aries pushing Pluto in Cancer.
The festival went nuts pretty much straight away, of course, with people like Goebbels – the Nazi propaganda merchant – as guest judge, Adolph Hitler given veto power and a whole array of the sort of fuqery you might expect from such characters.
“Cinema”, said Mussolini (a Dark Sun double Leo), “is the strongest weapon.” In 1938, the Cannes festival was purposefully established as an anti-facist alternative.
The contemporary Venice festival has distanced itself from all that, of course. There is no longer a Mussolini Cup for best cinematography, for instance. It’s carbon neutral and committed to transparency etc. See their site for the full virtue statement.
So why is its most prestigous award still the Volpi Cup? Or rather two awards one for best male actor, one for best female? Yes Guiseppe Volpi, the Count of Misurata was the founder of the festival and presumably did a good job. The double-Scorp had been Mussolini’s chief financial officer and was also charged with the ‘pacification’ of Libya between 1921 and 1925. That’s where he picked up his title – Misurata is a city in Libya, between Tripoli and Benghazi.
Notably brutal even by the standards of colonizers, he was perfectly confident in his role and is on record as having declared: “Italy is forever destined to bathe the rights of her assertion in blood.” You can see why Mussolini liked him but still, why is his name such a trophy? As Pluto chugs toward the Venice Film Festival’s Saturn, could it be time to address the scenario?
Interestingly, his granddaughter, Comtessa Marina Cocigno is still very active in the Italian arts scene. This New York Times interview with her is, well, interesting. I have a high tolerance for ‘eccentric aristocrat’ stories but this freaked me.
The Mercurial Ones
The Mercury-Mars-Jupiter ebullience expressed most clearly in the record-length standing ovations and philosophical outpourings.
“It’s tough to be alive now,” said Timothee Chalamet, a quintuple Capricorn “I think societal collapse is in the air — it smells like it.” He nailed the epochal atmosphere and made several lucid points about social media but it was a surreal juxtaposition with the shiny red oomph factor of his Haider Ackermann backless jumpsuit.
Colin Farrell, who won the standing ovation heats, expounded on cancel culture: “Conversation, sharing thoughts and feelings with each other. It’s a world that is so quick to pull the trigger of judgment on each other, we’re so quick to cancel now with cancel culture and all these things.
But to actually have discourse, to have conversation and exchange ideas in a way that is as open to your opinion being changed as it is to being shared is a gorgeous thing.”
But the most talked about interview from the film festival is the hilarious footage of multi-Virgo Chris Pine listening to his Don’t Worry Darling co-star Harry Styles waffle through an answer. Now, this is another Saturn clash. Pine’s Mercury is opposite Style’s Mercury-Saturn conjunction. These two in proximity would make each other less articulate, more contemplative than usual.
And to be fair to the ultra-Aquarian Harry, he’s good at zingy banter on random topics – not answering direct, ‘sensible’ questions. Still, the clip below is funny as it shows epic hyper-Virgo control on the part of Chris Pine.