Friday, Aug 15, 2014
Based in Roman Egypt, Agora is about a female professor and philosopher, Hypatia, who teaches young men about science. Encouraged by her father, she surrounds herself with information in the great library of Alexandria and is constantly testing new scientific theories. She is quite content to live her life researching but several men would like to marry her, including Orestes, one of the disciples that she teaches, and Davus, her slave. Love, however, is not the only thing that Hypatia has to worry about. Although their world seems calm and peaceful, an uprising by Christians begins to brew. Ancient philosophy is soon squashed as the Christians take over the city center, destroying almost all of the library's contents. Hypatia, her disciples, Davus, and everyone else is forced to chose a side, causing turmoil for everyone involved. Even when peace seems to be restored, it is clear that no one is safe from future persecution.
The story presents the idea that religious tensions have always existed, even dating back to the Roman Empire. Although it is not outwardly stated, the director seems to argue for the respect of knowledge and scientific exploration. The movie also explores the theory that Hypatia discovered famous scientific theories even though she is not credited for doing so. It is a great theatrical film for anyone interested in learning more about ancient religious differences. The acting is well down too with actors such as Rachel Weisz leading the way.