Agora

Agora

DVD - 2010
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A young slave in ancient Egypt must choose between joining the Christianity movement, which will give him freedom, and the woman he loves, who is his master and an atheist.
Publisher: [United States] : Lions Gate Entertainment, 2010
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (126 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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p
patch666
May 01, 2017

Good movie Rachel Weizs is great as usual. Interesting history And subject

r
rudpat
Apr 29, 2017

Nice film, but does contain graphic violence. Well acted. Cinematography was excellent. Stirs the issues of roles of the woman in society, especially pertaining to religion in the beginnings of Christianity. Also killing in the name of God and how faith plays a role in decision making. Ending depicts the savagery of when religion becomes fanatical.

AL_SARAHD Sep 25, 2016

What would you do if a library containing all of the history and literature of recorded time was destroyed? History lesson, it was. Find out what happened and why.
As a Library employee, I believe in freedom of information for all. If we can learn anything from history, it is that it had better not repeat itself in this regard.
RIP Library of Alexandria...you are still missed.

h
Hypatya
Sep 22, 2016

LOVED LOVED LOVED this movie.
Weisz is PERFECT for the role and executes impeccably.

Very well made, attention to details, realistic, mostly factual.

Ahhh, why are there no more Roman Empire movies like this?????

There is a lot of people complaining a lot about the historical accuracy of this movie, they should remember that this is a movie, NOT a documentary.

I am just grateful that a good effort was made to keep everything as accurate as possible rather to give in to box office traps such as excessive makeup, high heels (like in Taylor's Cleopatra), contrivance, and just general gaffes of the sort.

This is one of the most impeccable movies for this period.

i
Incal
Mar 07, 2016

Given that its director's got an axe to grind, I can't give this film full marks, and that's unfortunate because in Agora, there's a lot to like. In part, the movie is about Alexandria itself: the city, complete with its famous Lighthouse, has an Old-World exoticism that would delight as a setting for other movies. It's well-reconstructed and intensely atmospheric. Most exhilarating is the intellectual story arc of its protagonist, the mathematician Hypatia, and her pursuit of an answer to the theoretical puzzle dropped after the death of the Greek astronomer Aristarchus. Her quest to continue his work is accompanied by sumptuous music and perspective shots of her city from orbital vantages, suggesting the cosmic answers she's trying to find. These are the movie's peaks... and, sadly, one of its problems.

Aristarchus' heliocentric concept of the solar system failed because it couldn't successfully challenge Ptolemy's geocentric model. Hypatia, presented in Agora as a de facto atheist, was in life a Neo-Platonist and unlikely to question Ptolemy. Had she actually jumped from the box and continued Aristarchus' research, her first task should have been gauging the distances between the Earth, sun and other planets, measurements which his idea needed. Instead, director Alejandro Amenábar has her predating Johannes Kepler in plotting elliptical orbits. The most Eureka! part of the movie is, unfortunately, not very likely.

Then there's the rest of it: conflating the Christians' destruction of the Serapeum with the burning of valuable manuscripts is a falsehood which originated with Edward Gibbons and was popularized by Carl Sagan. Alexandria's witnesses and writers, as divided in their beliefs as Socrates Scholasticus was from Eunapius of Antioch, wrote preserved accounts of the destruction and don't mention any bonfires of books, a detail that would hardly have escaped their attention. Amenábar's camera turns upside down to show a world upended. Historical accuracy is what inverts instead.

Ditto the showdown between Cyril and Orestes: Hypatia is made pivotal to their conflict in a way she actually wasn't. Their clash was political, and Cyril eventually won. His reference in the movie to 1 Timothy 2:12 and accusation that Hypatia was a witch is without genuine historical precedent, but sells the conflict vision of science vs. religion. It all but compels the viewer to take sides.

With these points, Agora's not "only a movie." It's casting blame beyond what history actually warrants and attempts to distort perceptions of Christendom. (Some reviewers here imbibe this message.) As a post-script, I'll add that the "hostile Christianity" impression was undercut a century later by the life of Aedisia, a female pagan philosopher who also resided in Alexandria.

Good-looking movie, great setting... wish it was something I could enjoy instead of arguing with.

a
AQUILEA777
Jun 21, 2015

Impressive sets, interesting historical plot. The characters rarely come to life, but do effectively convey the forced conformism of organized movements, whatever their stripe. In the extra materials, the director brags of Rachel Weisz's intelligence, making her perfect as the brilliant Hypatia. But in her own interview, Rachel Weisz equates the Byzantine Empire with the Holy Roman Empire, showing she really knows nothing.

n
naturalist
Nov 07, 2014

Yes, it is historical speculation that Hypatia might have discovered that orbits describe ellipses. It is a story, it is “AlleGORicAl”. Religious fanatics turn the agora (meeting place) to a bloody area. Perhaps artistic licence portraying the Alexandrian Christian mob, but centuries later the mob still thrilled to the spectacle of heretics burning. Now, sixteen centuries later, superstition still resists reason.

r
rslade
Aug 27, 2014

The description provided at NVDPL is really misleading: this is sort of about the library at Alexandria (and its destruction), and sort of about religion-bashing. Unfortunately for the plot, there doesn't seem to be any existing evidence to support the theory that Hypatia pre-figured Newton by 1300 years. However, this movie does prove that Christianity-bashers can produce movies every bit as bad as Christian-propagandists can.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Aug 11, 2014

I can see why this Spain-produced film can vex viewers of strong religious beliefs, because the protagonist in the film, Hypatia, was a believer of science and the film is about her persecution by religious fanatics in ancient Alexandria, which was portrayed beautifully in the film. Historic accuracy aside, this is a moving film, and well acted by Rachel Weisz as the scientist ahead of her time. The costume, and the settings were all done right. For me this film deserves repeated viewings down the road. Highly recommended for all open-minded viewers interested in a time capsule of the past.

b
BlueHippo
Mar 04, 2014

I watched a video class about ancient history and the professor doing that class referred to this movie several time so thought I would check it out. It is fairly good. It does a fairly good job of portraying this woman (Hypathia) who was a teacher and mathematician in Alexandria in ancient times. If you watch some of the special features you get a better understanding of what is actually known about her. You also get a handle on what (and who) in the film is historical fact and what was fictionalized for the film.

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EuSei Feb 04, 2012

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Monolith
May 05, 2012

Hypatia: "Synesius, you don't question what you believe… you cannot. ...I must."

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