Signs of the times

Films shown through the astrological lens at Cinematheque

Miranda July’s Kajillionaire is the next film in the Astral Projection series, which pairs cinema and astrology. (Supplied photo)

The Dave Barber Cinematheque’s newest program is taking viewers to the stars. Astral Projection, a monthly series exploring the link between filmmaking and astrology, debuts this month.

At the start of each astrological season, Astral Projection will showcase a film by a director whose birthday falls under that astrological sign. It began with Ridley Scott’s (born Nov. 30) Thelma and Louise.

Astral Projection is the creation of box-office manager Nic Kaneski, a recent addition to the Cinematheque staff and an avid astrologer.

“My grandmother is really into horoscopes. That is probably my entry point into astrology,” Kaneski says. “Every year on everyone’s birthday, she will call and read your horoscope.”

Kaneski describes the Cinematheque as a supportive environment for sharing interesting films through the lens of something as potentially out of the box as astrology.

“I’ve always had this idea,” Kaneski says. “When I got more involved with the (Winnipeg) Film Group and felt more supported, I got more confident to share and make this idea happen.”

Although astrology may seem like a bit of an odd choice, it influences how many Millennials and members of Gen Z interact with the world. Kaneski came into adulthood around the resurgence of astrology, reading Rookie Mag, discussing friends’ birth charts and scrolling through countless astrology memes.

Kaneski says film is the perfect medium for sharing their interest in astrology with others.

“That format of analyzing a piece of media through astrology kinda makes it more accessible and lets us understand those signs. I see it as a big mirror of how we understand ourselves,” they say.

To Kaneski, astrology provides a compass that helps guide one’s intentions and understanding of others. At the same time, they describe the practice as more of an interpretive medium than a science.

“People don’t like astrology because it seems prescriptive,” Kaneski says. “It’s important to look at it not as a script but as a map or compass ... your reaction to it is more of the meaning than even the intended meaning.”

By presenting films through the lens of astrology, Kaneski hopes to create a space where people can enter into a new season together.

“Astrology is a way I mark the seasons and time, and I wanted to have a ritual to celebrate the changing of the seasons,” Kaneski says. “I love how going to the movies specifically feels like such a communal spell. It’s so different from watching something at home.”

Kaneski also sees Astral Projection as a fun way to show movies and directors they hold dear.

“It’s fun to learn things about directors I love,” Kaneski says. “Like of course David Lynch is an Aquarius.”

Whatever that means.

Cinematheque and Astral Projection will show Miranda July’s Kajillionaire on Jan. 19 to mark the beginning of Aquarius season.

Published in Volume 77, Number 14 of The Uniter (January 12, 2023)

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