Aeclectic Tarot
Dedicated to the diversity and beauty of Tarot since 1996


    · Tarot Decks   · Tarot Meanings   · Tarot Forum   · Home

Tarot Decks Tarot Card Meanings Free Tarot Readings Forum Community What's New
Library Index

tarot art in the film "the Ninth Gate" directed by Polanski

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 06 Nov 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.



Bean Feasa  06 Nov 2003 
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes:

I just saw a film on videotape last night called the Ninth Gate directed by Roman Polanski, sorry don't know the date of release but I'd guess maybe mid '90s. The storyline is that a bookdealer (Johnny Depp) has to hunt down the only three existing copies of an occult book which has medieval engravings. Turns out that the person who commissioned him to find the books wants to summon the devil and has to assemble three particular engravings from each book in order to do this. All a bit silly really, but entertaining enough.
The thing that interested me though is that the engravings seemed to depict scenes from the Tarot. One was the Hanged Man (and a character in the film got disposed of in this way, yuk). Another looked like the fool except he was walking towards a castle rather than off a cliff. A third resembled the Hermit, but he had put his lantern down on the ground beside him and was holding keys, about to open a big old-fashioned door.
I was wondering if anyone else has seen this film, or has any knowledge of it. Could it be that Tarot simply draws from a general tradition of medieval art, or I wonder did Polanski deliberately set out to use Tarot scenes. Any ideas?
blessings,
Kate 


dolphinprincess  06 Nov 2003 
I think there was actually a promotion tarot for this film with the images depicted... I remeber seeing it when the film was released... 


dolphinprincess  06 Nov 2003 
just found some links...

http://www.themysticeye.com/pics/ninthgate.htm

http://www.wicce.com/ninthgate.html 


Diana  06 Nov 2003 
Kate: I'm moving this to Talking Tarot! I never saw this movie - it's about time I did. Thanks for starting up this thread. 


Le_Corsair  06 Nov 2003 
I'm sorry, but I am not willing to watch a movie directed by a convicted rapist that has yet to serve out his just sentence. I would ask that anyone considering seeing a movie directed by Roman Polanski at least be aware of the facts concerning his rape conviction.

Bob :THERM 


dolphinprincess  06 Nov 2003 
Le Corsair- I have to second that... When I saw the Ninth Gate, I wasn't even aware of who directed it... ... or what he was convicted of, as i was very young when it happened...

however, i found it pretty disgusting how he was given awards this past year... and how he continues to make money in this country.. 


Astraea  06 Nov 2003 
I saw the accuser on Larry King's show around the time of the Academy Awards (last March, I believe) -- she said that she has forgiven Polanski and wants him to be able to return to the States and claim the awards he wins. She seemed like a lovely young woman. 


Diana  06 Nov 2003 
Well, a lot of people use the Thoth deck, although it is known what a depraved man Crowley was. But of course, cats, for instance, cannot take people to court...... and some of his women ended up in mental homes, so they couldn't take him to court either. 


Bean Feasa  06 Nov 2003 
Yikes, should have watched where I was walking there (a la Fool, perhaps?). Have to say that like Diana (if I'm reading what you say correctly Diana :), apologies if I'm not) in general I'm in favour of separating the person from the work. Ezra Pound, for example was pro-Fascist, T.S. Eliot clearly anti-semitic, both beliefs/traits I abhor, but it doesn't change the fact that they both wrote marvellous poetry - and there are countless other examples that dotted through the history of human creative endeavour.
I believe artistic gifts come from a Higher Power and work through people, and though oftentimes the vessel can be flawed the gift still shines.
Having said all that there was nothing great about this film - a pretty silly piece of work anyway, so I'm not going to stick my neck out for Polanski.

blessings,
Kate. 


dolphinprincess  06 Nov 2003 
i don't think there was anything wrong with your post / question... In fact, it was a good observation, since there was a tarot made from the film...

.. polanski's name just happens to spark many opinions :o) but that doesn't mean you can't talk about it..

however, i agree.. it wasn't that great of a film!... 


Kiama  06 Nov 2003 
I actually very much enjoyed the film, though I wasn't aware of what the director had done (didn't even know his name until just now!)

I also noticed that the Strength card from the Thoth deck (otherwise known as Lust) is depicted as the last card the main character finds, and thereby enters the Ninth Gate. This image is the one of the woman (who looks like the lover in the film) riding the beast (*ahem*) outside the castle that the main character entered at the end of the film.

What struck me most about this was that this Lust card represents Crowley's idea of the ideal woman, whom he called the Whore of Babylon, and essentially this was represented by the woman in the film... And it seems that only through sexual relations with this 'whore of Babylon' that the main character finds the Ninth Gate...

To me, this says alot about the Lust/Strength card, especially from a Crowleyan perspective.

Kiama 


Dark_angel  06 Nov 2003 
I spotted countless similarities to tarot cards throughout the film; the Hanged Man, the Hermit, the High Priestess, most of them were there in some form or another. Of course, the Devil loomed over the entire film. The Girl, I couldn't decide who she was. She was Temperence to me for quite a while, but then at the end, as said before, was Strength. I think Depp's character might have been the Fool, only instead of the World, he got the Devil, and kind of hopped about on his journey.

Polanski sounds like a very disturbed man; a life as violent and tragic as his is bound to leave some scars. I have sympathy for both him and his victim.

And this may seem very naive, but what did Crowley actually do?Several books have suggested that he wasn't a nice man, but as I don't own the Thoth deck, I've never read much about him.

xxx 


HudsonGray  06 Nov 2003 
Did you find the ending a little unclear? Did he end up in hell at the end, buring in the castle as it went up in flames? I thought the first half was better than the second, but the idea of the different set of books, with ONE of the engravings different in each one (and the clue to the puzzle that way) was a pretty good twist. I saw it about the same time as the Omega Code came out (hidden codes in the bible, translate them & it's the end of the earth kinda thing), which was about as interesting as this one was, though in a tad different way.

Both are pretty violent--to the point of unnecessary bloodshed & long camera dwelling on the bodies. Couldn't figure if it was a mystery or a slasher movie. 


Melvis  06 Nov 2003 
I read the book and saw the film. While the film left out a major story arc concerning the Three Musketeers, I thought it was entertaining. I mean, can you really go wrong seeing a Johnny Depp movie?

For those who are interested the author of the book is Arturo Perez-Reverte, and it's actually named The Club Dumas. It's much more detailed than the movie, and I think the history buffs here would really like it. It makes the search for old tarot decks look like a trip to the mall! ;) Lots of shady book dealers and forgers and all that good stuff.

Good reading!

Peace,

Melvis
:TSTRE 


Inana  07 Nov 2003 
I agree with Bean Feasa here. One has to separate the work from the person. Lot of great artists had a miserable life or doubtful morals.
And like Melvis I would recommend the book. Pérez Reverte is a great writer and very popular here, tough this is not his best book.
I liked the film but like with all the films based on a book, prefer the book. The engravings were fascinating with the faces of the characters on it. It would had been nice if they completed the entire deck, or the majors at least. 


jmd  07 Nov 2003 
The artwork is wonderful - but, even if related to Tarot, is not itself a true Tarot deck.

In my opinion, it only adds to the general confusion when a series of cards uses the term Tarot, without really being a proper deck.

Still, aspects of the Magician (dice), High Priestess, (mosaic floor), Moon (twin towers), Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Hanged Man, Tower, Death (on 'V'), Lovers (Angel with arrows), Ace of Swords/Wands (on 'VI'), Empress, Emperor, Strength and others are discernable within the nine cards...

Interesting blending. Pity about the theme... 


Eberhard  13 Nov 2003 
the engravings from the novel, AT and L(C)F versions. 


HudsonGray  14 Nov 2003 
Wow! Thanks! I didn't know anyone had the images up online.

They're a bit small so you do have to click on each one to see them nicely, but damn do they take a while to load! 


Inana  14 Nov 2003 
Now i see the images again... have to agree with JMD, they have mixed elements from different cards. Thanks for the link Eberhard.
Though there are some of the pics i dont remember they were on the film like the one with the number V, for example. 


Ruby7  31 Dec 2004 
I saw this movie late last night (wee hours of the morning) on T.V. I missed the first 10 minutes but watched the rest of it. I wasn't aware that it was a Polanski film.

The tarot images jumped out at me right away and really disturbed me. I found the images very creepy and they left me very unsettled. I have never felt this way about any tarot deck (except Crowley's Thoth a bit) and I'm still disturbed about it. This was all just made up for a movie right? Why would the images creep me out so much? The engravings really seemed "evil" to me and I feel like there is something important about this.

Did anyone else have this reaction to the engravings? It's still haunting me. :(

Ruby7 


HudsonGray  31 Dec 2004 
I think it was the way it was shot as a horror flick (camera angles, music, length of 'dwell' shots on the bodies), the deck is completely fictional and works in the movie as the pivot point (remember Satan was supposed to have connections to the cards). It's not real tarot though. Don't worry over it.

The first 10 minutes basically started with a suicide, the guy hung himself in his library with a cord from the chandelier and kicked his chair out from under himself. Ick. Then the book dealers come to evaluate his collection of rare books for the family's insurance purposes.

Watching creepy movies late at night probably was what got to you. LOL 


Ruby7  01 Jan 2005 
HudsonGray wrote:
I think it was the way it was shot as a horror flick (camera angles, music, length of 'dwell' shots on the bodies), the deck is completely fictional and works in the movie as the pivot point (remember Satan was supposed to have connections to the cards). It's not real tarot though. Don't worry over it.

The first 10 minutes basically started with a suicide, the guy hung himself in his library with a cord from the chandelier and kicked his chair out from under himself. Ick. Then the book dealers come to evaluate his collection of rare books for the family's insurance purposes.

Watching creepy movies late at night probably was what got to you. LOL


Thanks HudsonGray! Not having seen the beginning I had wondered if the guy really had hung himself or if he had been murdered. I am easily creeped out by movies and really shouldn't watch scary ones in the wee hours of the morning. I suppose it was also disturbing to see tarot images taken and placed in unfamiliar scenes and for a different purpose. I'm over it now :)

Ruby7 


Cerulean  01 Jan 2005 
to me, a slow yawn that was occasionally enlivened by interesting engravings that were wrong enough as a tarot to keep me awake. I think this review might help those just seeing the movie and maybe feeling a little 'creeped out'...

http://www.audiorevolution.com/movies/ninthgate/

The end seemed to me to be that the intrigued hero-researcher found the fallen Muse-of-Light that seems to be alluring twist to the usual Lucifer type. The ending premise is if you are master of the books, you also become master of a kind of hidden alternative and strangely luminious side of a hidden realm that no one else knows about.

Anyway, with the odd secret societies, and Old Green Eyes showing up at key times, one gets the feeling Johnny Dep never was 'a-scared' and Green Eyes really developed a preference for spending eternity with J.D...

I found it a slightly silly movie, especially seeing J.D. in that goatee and haircut...although, of course, I watched it all, trying to follow J.D. and the cards...also saw the last J.D. movie, "Neverland," and found him irresistable during the course of the movie.

Regards,

Cerulean 


Fudugazi  01 Jan 2005 
Le_Corsair wrote:
I'm sorry, but I am not willing to watch a movie directed by a convicted rapist that has yet to serve out his just sentence. I would ask that anyone considering seeing a movie directed by Roman Polanski at least be aware of the facts concerning his rape conviction.


Roman Polanski is one of the greatest film directors in the world. He has also made very inspiring films - such as The Pianist, about a Jewish pianist inthe Warsaw ghetto.

And if we are talking grimy facts, he is not a rapist: he had consensual sex with an underage girl. Not nice, but not rape. I fail to see what it has to do with his art. Another fact: his pregnant wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by Charlie Manson. It was after that he slipped up and fell in love with a teenager. Not excusing him, but let's be fair, too.

Having said that I've not seen the tarot film - I'd be interested. His nineties films were not as good as his earlier film and not a patch on the pianist, but this might be different. 


Ruby7  01 Jan 2005 
O.K.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on the tarot art in the film? I would really like to hear more about that.

Thanks,
Ruby7 


The tarot art in the film "the Ninth Gate" directed by Polanski thread was originally posted on 06 Nov 2003 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

 


Tarot Forum Categories
· Tarot Decks
· Using Tarot Cards
· Tarot Trading
· Talking Tarot
· Reading Exchange
· Your Readings
· Tarot Games & Fun
· Professional Tarot
· Marseilles
· Rider-Waite-Smith
· Thoth Tarot
· Tarot Study Groups
· Lenormand
· Oracles
· Divination
· Spirituality
· Chat
· New Members
· Advertisements
· Forum Help


Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Steampunk Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Angel Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Dragon Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Fantasy Decks
· Beginner Books
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Upcoming Decks
· Solandia's Top Ten
· Top Ten Decks
· List All Decks

Who is behind the Aeclectic Tarot Forum?

My name is Kate Hill (also known as Solandia) and I'm a Tarot reader, deck collector, and lifelong student of the beauty and diversity of Tarot cards.

I created Aeclectic in 1996 to share my passion for Tarot with the world, and started the forum in 2000 so others could share theirs too. Contact me via email or here at the forum.

  Contribute to Aeclectic

· Add your deck
· Write a review
· Join the community

Get new deck updates via email
  Aeclectic Tarot Resources

Copyright © Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved.