Pedro Almodovar

What have we done to deserve Pedro Almodóvar?

Pedro Almodovar quote Libra
Quote about decor and character by Almodovar, Libra
'Bad Education' (2004)
‘Bad Education’ 2004

Any lover of cinema will be familiar with the work of Pedro Almodóvar who has produced a swathe of films over the past few decades with that special Spanish flavour which is ‘picante’ – spicy hot.  His  films tickle and tease us with that lightness of touch that is his hallmark. They are not cold and clinical. His latest ‘The Pain and the Glory’ (2019 reveals even more of his personal history that he started to reveal in ‘Bad Education’  (2004).  Almodóvar is a Libra sun sign born this day September 25th.  Libra is a very pleasing sign. It is about relationships, but not always of the personal type, and Libra is ruled by Venus which is creative so usually this polishes up a socially aware type of person whose goal is harmony and equilibrium.

They love parties and arranging to meet friends and interacting with others. But it is a cardinal sign so don’t be deceived- there’s a huge amount of energy for initiation here too. Librans are not push-overs and usually kick back. This is where Librans can also play devil’s advocate; they can provoke as much as they mediate. Conflicts spring up around them for them to resolve, but that they often created themselves, so they are ones to keep a watchful eye on.  In his chart at least four houses have no planets, but since the exact time of birth is not available, it is only speculation as where the houses fall into the various areas of his life. But we can still say where the planets are positioned, and my guess is that house of Pisces is empty, and the home of Neptune cried out to be peopled with numerous films to prove that it had the power spin a web of tales, and that for Almodóvar these works mean absolutely everything to him for that reason.

Pedro Almodovar
Pedro Almodovar

Almodóvar’s films are difficult to categorise and that is also by design. They are part-black comedies, part-elegies to the great screen dramas. They  can also be subtle, exploring dark themes, and be slightly manic. They are maximal in the sense that so many things happen that secondary characters can threaten to snatch attention from the main story.  They are hilarious, tragicomic, but can also be social commentaries with a biting message. They are in turn baroque, eclectic, often sexual, and sometimes overwrought as a consequence, but they produce a tumult of emotions in viewers and can intoxicate because they are in the end hugely entertaining. He does not want the films to represent Spain as they are very personal too. The first one I saw in Barcelona ‘The Law of Desire’ (1987) exploded new rambunctious energy. The buzz among Spaniards was evident from the start. It depicted life in post-Franco Spain and the public welcomed it as a signal of a fresh start for a more inclusive Spain. His follow up was ‘Women on the verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ (1988) which was his first international hit across Europe and in the US. It made a mockery of terrorists in a way that might not pass in the 21st century, but any film that can milk the comedy-drama out of a simple scene of a woman (Carmen Maura) watering plants on her balcony certainly had something to offer.  His natal chart points to this unique style: a Sun square to Uranus, both in creative signs, would definitely suggest that he would just make films his own way and be very determined in that effort.

Almodovar's women from Volver ( 2006)
Almodóvar’s women in ‘Volver’ (2006)

Almodóvar’s films tend to focus is on the rituals of the feminine universe where, in his words, women pushed into difficult circumstances have this amazing ‘capacity for pretending’ according to Almodóvar. So their onscreen antics come vividly to life. There are many mothers in his films- that fact alone creates drama. To say these actresses who have appeared in Almodóvar’s films were his muses is a truism as he himself has declared it so. The list is long and illustrious: Carmen Maura (Virgo), Marisa Paredes (Aries) Bibi Anderson (Scorpio), Rossy de Palma (Virgo), Victoria Abril (Cancer ) and finally Penelope Cruz (Taurus) with whom he has a special relationship  where the camera is glued to her luminous presence luring the viewer into that intimate love affair between director and his favourite star.

Film directors might seem to have a prominent Neptune, the planet most associated with films, but following the theory of missing functions, compensation, outliers, lone planets, and empty houses wherever the gaps are in chart may be just as important as the houses busy with obvious clusters of planets. We saw this with the empty house of Pisces. Sometimes there is a need to check this dormant negative potential in any chart. This can provide the key to the entire story of the native.  Here, there is very little in mutable signs – only Saturn in Virgo, but while this gives discipline to the craft of film and adding to the craftsmanship in cinema. Saturn sextiles both Venus and the Moon. This helps to join the dots around Saturn, so perhaps here it is the softener agent rather than the iron fist that hardens the other more difficult alignments.

Maat
Maat goddess of wisdom and measure

What is clear is that there are other signs of a creative spark –  Neptune is conjunct Mercury,This gives the abundance of ideas any writer of film scripts would need, but could also lead to confusion and chaos – hence the zany plotting of some scripts where the references to writing film scripts are layered into the script. The third energy linked to Neptune and Mercury is Lillith.. She is the woman set free to vent anger and even politicize their views which is in tune with the Libran domain of measure and justice. The origin of the Libra archetype actually derives from the ancient Egyptian goddess Maat who measured the world, the soul on one side of the scales and a feather on the other.  The image of Maat represents truth, justice, and balance, almost like a female Saturn. She is shown here with two great wings.

Pedro Almodovar in 2017
Pedro Almodovar in 2017

Regarding other asteroids, Vesta, guardian of the sacred flame, is conjunct the Galactic centre making that a massively expanded sort of mission.  I’m doing research on muse asteroids and his Thalia -the muse of comedy- is in Aquarius so this quirky sense of humour comes through in the films as if the tragi-comedy of life should be held at arm’s length as it may happen to all of us and the message embedded into a fable applicable in a universal sense.

The Mercury conjunct Neptune, also underscores Almodóvar’s over-abundant imagination where the fanciful musings turn into more than just a pastime- but very early on in his career established his own production company- Deseo. In Almodóvar’s case run by his producer brother. Libra needs to be in partnership and this one has been the longest lasting as Pedro’s brother was his first ever audience. But this position could also suggest being  hyper-sensitive to atmospheres with an almost psychic attunement. The quote here refers to how much interior design plays in nailing the essence of character – a very Libran sort of statement where he says:  “I think decor has a lot to say about a someone’s social position, their taste, their sensibility, their work- and also about the aesthetic way I have portrayed them in the story.” This  conjunction is sextile to Mars in Leo giving immense power to dramatize the stories and make them entertaining. Pluto is nearby adding that twisted element, and the depth so it is not just a silly comedy but on the level of Greek tragedy.

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (1990)
Time Me Up Tie me Down (1990)

The sign of Scorpio is fixed water to the point of solidifying into ice. This intensifies what is already intense- the fixity of feeling and with little that is mutable it gets quite solid. In Almodóvar’s chart there is a power of transformation for any love object or person. It is as thought the loved one  has to be taken apart to be put back together again. This is the only way love can be truly expressed in a darkly protective way. A glance at the film titles helps to confirm this way of understanding this configuration:  ‘The Labyrinth of Passion’ (1982)   ‘ Dark Habits’ (1983 ),  ‘Tie Me Tie Me Down’ (1990 ),  ‘The Flower of my Secret’ (1996),  ‘Broken Embraces’ (2009 ), ‘The Skin I Live In’ ‘(2011),   – is this not telling us something about how love never follows a straightforward path? Might jealousy and possession and intoxicating sexual magnetism be involved?  This is quite likely as Scorpio is the the most occult of signs- anything obvious just won’t do. This Venus/Moon in Scorpio is square to Mars in Leo  with emphasis on the fixed signs.  both fixed signs. It does not offer to budge from their positions. His concentration is on love and family drama for sure as a square requires growth and pushes the energy forwards. He says himself women have the greater range of emotion visible on screen and this alignment could point to his distinctive treatment of women challenged by harsh circumstances- they could  also be a projection of his own inner female- these women ‘are’ him somehow. But they are the ordinary women (Moon) and also the extraordinary (Venus) capable, perhaps rolled into one. They are resourceful, dynamic, turbulent (Scorpio) and who behave in passionate, not obvious or predictable ways. Opinion is divided as to what this has achieved for women, but it has offered many Spanish actresses the chance to own the most demanding roles- one muse  in particular, Penelope Cruz, has grown in each new Almodóvar film she appears. In his youth he was obsessed with the intense gaze of actress Jessica Lange in the poster for the film ‘Frances’ (1982)  which reveals how much he identifies with this peculiarly doleful female charisma.

Frances (1982)
Jessica Lange in ‘Frances ‘Film poster (1982)

One lovely conjunction in his chart  that stands out is of the centaurs Chiron with his wife Chariklo just one degree apart in Sagittarius. They wedded together in the sky so as an educator, a liberator, freeing us from conventions, Almodóvar, whether he set out to do so or not, has helped people to heal rifts in society and has definitely lead the way on opening up the discussion about the variety of sexual minorities.  This Chiron is quinqunx to Uranus in Cancer which also squares the Sun in Libra so it is not always an easy ride, but he is seen as a provocateur, a liberator, challenging us to think in fresh ways is  that quirky part of him that makes him stand out from other directors. Chiron in Sagittarius speaks of freedom from limitations and rebellion against authorities . But this beautiful conjunction of Chiron and Chariklo is clouded a spidery asteroid,  Arachne, spinning a web to mesh the centaurs.  His holy trinity of directors who have influenced his work are Luis Bunuel, Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.  But he also loved ‘Short Cuts’ (1993) by Robert Altman  and director, John Cassavetes film Opening Night’ ‘(1977) which he used to demonstrate his own style in a his David Lean lecture. He feels also a strong but inexplicable connection to the sensibility of Tennessee Williams. The hot house style and sensibility I think has its core in the Venus/Moon conjunction in Scorpio from which he can pull people into its whirlwind drama but from which viewers may never emerge the same person.

Natal Chart courtesy astrotheme.com
Pedro Almodovar natal chart

On the topic of muses Almodóvar’s asteroid muses, the muse Polyhymnia is loosely conjunct his Sun in Libra. She’s the one connected with all things sacred; the name means literally ‘many hymns,’ but she also presides over Pantomine, and meditation so my feeling is that it just confers depth and productivity as he’s made 3 times as many films in 5 decades as Kubrick made in his entire life. To him his films probably do feel like sacred acts as he tries to make sense of himself in the world.

And he is still going strong. His latest film ‘The Pain and the Glory’ ( 2019) is a confessional style reflection that spins across directorial career and falling out with actors.

Pedro and Antonio
Pedro and his leading man, Antonio Banderas

A quick glance at the synastry between them shows that Antonio Banderas (a Leo) transforms himself into  Almodóvar for this film and has already been nominated for awards for his performance. Banderas’ Sun conjuncts Almodóvar’s Pluto in Leo, and his Banderas’ Neptune conjuncts Almodóvar’s Venus/Moon in Scorpio, so  quite likely there was a frisson of interest when they first met and it has not abated. Banderas has been well cast in a challenging role for him. Casting the right actor for the role has been one of Amodóvar’s skills throughout his career as he learned the lesson of getting it right very early on. This pairing then would seem to be one of those great matches of actor with the role he plays. So for one I am looking forward to seeing this late work of this prolific and provoking film maker.

 

© Proteus Astrology, September 25th, 2019

 

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