GTA EVENT, FILM: Agora (2010) - The story of Hypatia and the burning of the library of Alexandria

 Currently showing in Toronto:

Agora (2010)

The 2009 movie by Alejandro Amenbar, Starring: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Ashraf Barhom, Michael Lonsdale, Rupert Evans, is in town.

Set in Roman Egypt in the fourth century, "Agora" tells the story of the legendary astronomer and philosopher Hypatia (Weisz), trapped in the legendary Library of Alexandria, and her fight to save the old world's wisdom from the religious riots sweeping the streets of Alexandria....  A large-scale investigation into religious hysteria, the film is a stunning spectacle, piloted by a filmmaker drawn to the frayed ends of human irrationality.

In Alexandria during the 4th century, Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) is an astronomer and philosopher eager to convey her enthusiasm for the cosmos to her band of students and her particularly inquisitive Christian slave, Davus (Max Minghella). As the Christians rise up to overthrow Pagan control of the city, Hypatia is forced to relinquish her status while Davus joins the opposing army, finding himself torn between his devotion to God and the affection he carries for his master.  Years later, Hypatia has inched closer to her dream of understanding the mystery of Earth’s rotation, while a former student, Orestes (Oscar Isaac), becomes prefect, struggling to keep order as the city’s Jewish contingent clashes with the power-mad Christians. As another round of violence is about to erupt, Hypatia’s brilliance is declared blasphemy, forcing Davus back into her life... It’s a war of education for Hypatia, who values the might of the cultured mind, thrilled with Davus and his interest in the solar system in the moments before their relationship takes a dark turn. The film abrasively contrasts the threat of enlightenment and theory against the wrathful superstition of organized religion, and how that combustibility could never coexist peacefully, much less in Alexandria during such a volatile age.

"Agora is a multileveled portrait of zeal. Hypatia's zeal for learning positions her in the highest ranks of her society, but it also blinds her to the real dangers she faces from those who see science and humanism as a threat to faith. The Christians' passion to establish their new faith turns into a campaign to silence all others. To this day, the dark side of zeal is evident in those who turn from the ideal of diversity and try to stifle a plurality of voices in the marketplace, schools, and religious centers. Agora is one of the best films of 2010 with its impressive mix of rich thematic material, fascinating characters, and an astonishing performance by Rachel Weisz as Hypatia"