Agora – Movie Review

Atheists of the world, Unite!

Agora

Set in the backdrop of the glorious city of Alexandria of 491 A.D., Agora, the forgotten story of the first communal war in the history of mankind, is brought to life by a very famous Spanish director. Taking a bird’s eye view of the world at that time, the movie focuses impartially on its three warring parties, the Pagans, the Christians and one single Atheist. It traces the lives of that atheist, her slave and the General of that city who was once her student.

Though much of the screen time is covered by its big star Rachel Weisz playing Hypatia, Davus, her slave who is confused between supporting his people and his master, was my protagonist. He shows that however far we are today in 2010 from 491 AD, we still fight in the name of God and destroy everything in our way. When I say we, I mean “Humans”. There are in that mob, many people who did not want to fight, did not want to hurt others but were dragged into it by their indecisiveness and peer pressure, and then too had some soft corner for some people. He was an Atheist, a Christian and a Pagan all at once, which is the state of most of the world population today.

With marvelous sets and special effects, the movie also brings to light that amidst this war, we had lost lives, money and more importantly, the great library of Alexandria, which if was untouched that day, would have helped us reach the moon some 300 years back itself! Coupled with some minor flaws, this movie is a good watch for a blank mind on a serious day.

9 thoughts on “Agora – Movie Review

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  4. I saw Agora when it first came out in NYC and agree it was a beautifully shot movie. As you point out there are a few flaws – Amenabar played a little fast and loose with history. The Great Library of Alexandria didn’t end as he depicted and Synesius wasn’t such a jerk. However, that’s what artists do. I don’t go to movies for accurate history. For people who want to know more about the historical Hypatia, I highly recommend a very readable biography by Maria Dzielska called Hypatia of Alexandria (Harvard Press, 1995.) I also have a series of posts on my blog on the events and characters from the film – not a movie review, just a “reel vs. real” discussion.

    • Actually they fairly explicitly note that their library isn’t the Great Library of Alexandria. In the evening when Hypatia is considering the possibility of a heliocentric system, the old man clearly refers to their library AND the great library. (I might need to look back to double check. But that seemed pretty clear to me at the time.)

      Also, considering the subtlety of Synesius’ jerkiness, I’m not sure how historic references could really serve to discredit this portrayal. Since the portrayal is not openly contradicted by historical sources it seems more than fair to make some presumptions based on dramatic license. Certainly the scene where Synesius is perhaps the most jerky is one of the most powerful in the movie. (With Orestes on his knees.)

  5. Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

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