Happy Gemini season my dears! Gemini season holds a special place in my heart, as my perfect, and beautiful significant other, is a Gemini. I’m so lucky two have two beautiful faces to admire; and two interesting and unique personalities to love.
What are the great Gemini films? The films that embody the spirit, the essence, and the soul of Geminis; I mean besides the 2003 classic Stuck on You starring Greg Kinnear and Matt Damon. I mean the (conjoined) twin energy, twinergy, alone.
Gemini is represented in the zodiac as twins. They are always in constant dialogue with each other; talking back and forth; two spirits one mind. So then Gemini’s crave interesting, moving or compelling storytelling and conversation within film. Something of substance that stimulations both spirts residing in the Gemini’s mind. we tend to type cast Geminis as two faced, and fake. However, they tend to be more social chameleons, able to navigate through crowds and assimilate into different social circles with ease. So that coupled with the twin imagery of the sign is perhaps where the “two-faced” notion came from.
Which brings us to our films! Mistaken identities, doubles, dopplegängers, puzzles, and non-linear plots are the standard feature of Gemini minded films. With that being said, we begin our selections:
MEMENTO: (2001) Dir. Christopher Nolan
Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man with anterograde amnesia and short term memory loss occurring every five minutes. Everything Leonard learns is reset in his mind. He has to constantly learn who he is and what he’s doing from clues he leaves behind; cryptic tattoos, and polaroids with quickly scrawled notes on the back. His mission: find and kill the man that raped and murdered his wife, and left Leonard, himself, with a traumatic brain injury. So then, it’s pretty cut and dry. This is a hard-boiled neo-noir thriller, vigilante justice must be served!
Or is it? How much do we really know? How much does Leonard really know? Who can we trust? And can we even trust ourselves? Memory is fallible as Leonard comes to find out.
Why this film? Duality and doubling throughout mimics the twin imagery of the Gemini. There are two sides of Leonard, two Leonards. There is who Leonard was, an insurance adjuster; and who Leonard is now, a detective of sorts, fueled by righteous fury. It seems as though we have two separate story lines running back to front. One story told in black and white, perhaps a nod to the movie’s nior ancestry. One story told in color, that situates the audience in the present. Each story line is spliced into the other, these vignettes create an intricate puzzle; one that a Gemini won’t stop working on until they crack the code.
MULLHOLLAND DR.: (2001) Dir. David Lynch
2001 was a good year for Geminis, right? Naomi Watts and Lara Herring star in this twisting turning tour de force. What does a small town ingénue and a recent amnesiac have in common? Nothing. Everything. Betty Elms moves from her small town of Nowheresville, USA after winning a jitterbug contest, to LA in the hopes of being something, or someone. Betty has plans to stay at her Aunt Ruth’s apartment. The apartment is touched, glowing with the feelings and memories of the Golden Age of Hollywood. There Betty meets who she assumes is her Aunt’s friend, Rita; who recently survived a brutal car accident affect only her memory. Who is Rita? Who was Rita? With the help of Betty the two woman partner up, finding and following clues leading them to the mysterious Club Silencio. What happens there cannot be described or explained.
But then, how and why does this film embody the Gemini spirit? Again we have amnesia as a main plot device. We can only know what Rita and Betty know, we are learning along with them. And again, it’s a puzzle, which reflects a Gemini’s need for intellectual stimulation. Rita’s identity is a puzzle. The secondary plot lines are a puzzle, floating around the main question; who is Rita, and where did she come from? The whole movie becomes a puzzle after a drastic shift in narrative more then two thirds of the way through. Is everything an illusion? Where do dreams and fantasies end, and reality begins? But then there is the more potent Gemini energy; the doubling, the twin imagery.
“You look like someone else”. But who? The evident similarities of Betty and Rita aside (namely a murky past and in this instance blonde hair) a more confusing doubling emerges in the third act. Names are shared, apartments are switched, and a blue box and blue key emerge as the most important pairing. Reality seeps into fantasy and fantasy does its best to stave off reality before it unravels a beautifully constructed lie. Mullholland Dr. will keep even the most two-faced intellectual entertained well after the credits roll.
TWIN PEAKS: (1990-91, 2017) Dir. David Lynch & Mark Frost
Normally we do two movies, but in the name of Gemini, why not be a little extra, and throw in a TV show?
As some of you already know, Twin Peaks, and all its subsequent movies, TV specials, books, podcasts, and more recently, Twin Peaks: The Return, are my and Nia’s favorite show. Ever. It’s a cult classic and world all its own. Now for those of you who don’t know, allow me to explain. Or at least attempt to explain the strange and unusual world that is Twin Peaks, Washington.
We began, not unlike our other two selections, with a murder. There’s been a murder in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington. A quiet, picturesque town tucked away in the mountains and close to the Canadian-American Border. So then, the question on everyone’s lips, who killed Laura Palmer? Unfortunately, things get weird(er). Special Agent Dale Cooper, played by the boyishly charming Kyle MacLahlan, enters the scene from the FBI. Laura’s murder mimics that of another murder hundreds of miles from the sleepy town. Are they connected? Meanwhile, the stories of the residents of Twin Peaks plays out like a campy soap opera. High school relationship drama, drug running, insurance fraud, depression, grief, faked deaths; and that’s just in season 1.
Now again, why Twin Peaks? Well, firstly, all the doubling; twin peaks, two murders, a show within this show about twins, lookalikes, and dopplegängers (evil twins). The symbol of the Gemini permeates every aspect of this show. And lastly, the show is a puzzle; in fact the TV movie is called Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces. Every line, scene, and episode is a riddle or puzzle waiting to be solved. Only the shrewdest and persistent of minds can even begin to unlock the secret. Maybe it takes a Gemini?
With that we end our film selections. We hope these films allow you to enjoy the wonderful Gemini season. Each film pairs nicely with food and beverage of choice, just make sure you have your Gemini with you; all two of them.