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Agora (Amenabar, 2009): Rachel Weisz as Hypatia in Roman Egypt [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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DVD Reviews

View Full Version : Agora (Amenabar, 2009): Rachel Weisz as Hypatia in Roman Egypt


NoirFan
02-25-09, 07:19 PM
Synopsis: Set in Roman Egypt in the fourth century A.D., Weisz plays astrologer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria, who fights to save the collected wisdom of the ancient world. Her slave Davus (Minghella) is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity.

International Teaser:

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Official Site (http://www.agoralapelicula.com/)
IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/)

DonnachaOne
02-25-09, 07:25 PM
Looks pretty
much like any other roman period piece

The Bus
02-25-09, 10:26 PM
If there's no bathtub scene I'm not interested.

PopcornTreeCt
02-25-09, 10:31 PM
If there's no bathtub scene I'm not interested.

This

Color palette was boring. There weren't any interesting shots. But I'm a sucker for Roman period films.

toddly6666
02-25-09, 10:34 PM
Rome Season 3?

NoirFan
05-19-09, 04:24 PM
Variety review (http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=festivals&jump=review&reviewid=VE1117940282&cs=1): The mother of all secular humanists fights a losing battle against freshly minted religious zealots in “Agora,” a visually imposing, high-minded epic that ambitiously puts one of the pivotal moments in Western history onscreen for the first time. Alejandro Amenabar’s first feature since “The Sea Inside” five years ago foreshadows the transformation of the Roman-dominated ancient world into Christian medieval times through the story of the much-celebrated astronomer and mathematician Hypatia in 4th-century Alexandria. This elaborately produced English-language Spanish production is consistently spectacular and features enough conflict and action to make it marketable, but a certain heaviness of style and lack of an emotional pulse could pose problems for mass audience acceptance, at least in the U.S.

MoviePage
05-19-09, 04:32 PM
Can't wait for this. Love historical films, especially ones set in this period, I'm excited to see this particular story told onscreen for the first time, and I like Rachel Weisz a lot (and I've read that she's typically fantastic in this).

bdshort
05-19-09, 04:58 PM
I love Rachel Weisz.

That is all.

Ok... just based on that really short trailer that didn't show much, it at least LOOKS pretty good. And it also reminding me of Rome... even though it's in Egypt.

Superman07
09-01-09, 09:35 PM
I love that snub at US audiences. :lol:

<object width="720" height="438"><param name="movie" value="http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/13591"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/13591" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" width="720" height="438"></embed></object>

Defiant1
09-01-09, 10:13 PM
I hope to see this in a couple weeks at the Toronto Film Festival. Reading that Guy Hendrix Dyas was the production designer on this just sealed the deal for me. His work in Elizabeth: The Golden Age was phenomenal.

And it also reminding me of Rome... even though it's in Egypt.

Egypt was part of the Roman Empire at this period in time so you are correct. HBO's Rome was even planning an entire season set in Egypt until the network told the producers that the second season would also be its last.

TOLEN
09-01-09, 11:11 PM
Cool to see the Lighthouse at Alexandria...What an amazing piece of engineering for the time.

Solid Snake
09-01-09, 11:44 PM
I love Weisz but this looks boring. I saw the trailer a while back but...yeah..looks boring.

BJacks
04-23-10, 11:10 AM
Saw this a couple days ago. I've been thinking about it for two days straight and can't get it out of my head. Any fan of the ancient period (and particularly the fall of pagen Rome and the rise of Christianity) should see this. The sets are absolutely incredible; they've recreated Alexandria in all its glory, including the Lighthouse. It definitely feels more broad than the production of HBO's "Rome" which always seemed smallish scale in nature. The costumes are spot-on and they must have used hundreds of extras. You really do feel like you're completely immersed in the time period.

The performances are very good too. Rachel Weisz plays a philosopher who's struggling to dissect the cosmos and determine the true orbital rotation of the planets. That's where the film gets a little sketchy; the increasingly bloody battle between the pages, the Christians and the Jews is very well done and very emotional, but then the film intermittently switches to Weisz measuring the Earth's orbit and doing calculations and it kind of feels misplaced. It's like "Passion of the Christ" meets "October Sky." But it's based on a real person so I'm not sure how much of that was meant to be true to form.

Like I said, I can't stop thinking about it. The whole situation is just so bloody and tragic, you can't help but feel impacted even after 2000 years. You just want to go in a time machine and travel back to save all those amazing monuments and libraries and scrolls and statues. And it really makes you think about the fall of Rome and how colossal a shift it was to move from paganism to Christianity and the violent nature of the changeover as different sides battled it out. No religion here really comes out looking that good, although the Christians are painted as the worst aggressors which is historically accurate.

It's not the most amazing film but it's one I would recommend to anyone with even a scant amount of interest in the time period and what the rise of Christianity looked like on the ground.

Dr Mabuse
04-24-10, 04:57 PM
I would recommend it too.

I saw it a couple of months ago and it's a good period piece film.

Dr. DVD
04-24-10, 05:40 PM
Why has this not yet been given a major release?

Daytripper
08-08-10, 01:05 PM
Just got back from seeing this and it blew me away. Was not it expecting it to be THAT good, but it's just a beautiful film and the performances are stellar.

Dr. DVD
08-08-10, 10:15 PM
Where is this playing?

Daytripper
08-08-10, 10:18 PM
Where is this playing?

Good luck finding it my friend. It's only in two theaters here in Washington D.C. One at one of the two Landmark chains (Bethesda). The other, a hole in the wall theater in Fairfax Virginia. Which is a real shame. I thought the film was rather epic and deserved a bigger and better release. If you have an all regional DVD player, it comes oout in the U.K. next week.

sauce07
08-11-10, 09:45 AM
Good luck finding it my friend. It's only in two theaters here in Washington D.C. One at one of the two Landmark chains (Bethesda). The other, a hole in the wall theater in Fairfax Virginia. Which is a real shame. I thought the film was rather epic and deserved a bigger and better release. If you have an all regional DVD player, it comes oout in the U.K. next week.

Nobody puts Cinema Arts Theater in a corner

toddly6666
10-10-10, 09:41 PM
Just rented this movie. Great sad film. If Jews ran Hollywood, this movie would have played in all the US theaters! ;) But nope, Christians don't like movies that make them look bad (when in fact it's a movie that pertains to any fanatical religion during any time and any place) nor do they like unhappy endings! ;)

Dr Mabuse
10-10-10, 09:46 PM
Just rented this movie. Great sad film. If Jews ran Hollywood, this movie would have played in all the US theaters! ;) But nope, Christians don't like movies that make them look bad (when in fact it's a movie that pertains to any fanatical religion during any time and any place) nor do they like unhappy endings! ;)

That's what you took away from this film? 'It makes Christians look bad'?

Good grief...

toddly6666
10-10-10, 10:28 PM
That's what you took away from this film? 'It makes Christians look bad'?

Good grief...

Didn't you read what I just wrote? I said it makes any fanatics of any religion look bad - not Christians...but I understand now why US theaters didn't play it in mainstream theaters, because USA is a Christian-controlled country and wouldn't want a movie to to make them look bad. On the surface to Christians, they will think this movie is making fun of them. But the moral of the movie is that it's pertaining to all religions. The movie makes Christians look bad according to Christians because a closed-minded religious person will only see this movie as the way it is shown, not what's underneath.

Dr Mabuse
10-10-10, 10:49 PM
You could have simply answered "yes" and saved some typing.

Solid Snake
10-10-10, 11:05 PM
Didn't you read what I just wrote? I said it makes any fanatics of any religion look bad - not Christians...but I understand now why US theaters didn't play it in mainstream theaters, because USA is a Christian-controlled country and wouldn't want a movie to to make them look bad. On the surface to Christians, they will think this movie is making fun of them. But the moral of the movie is that it's pertaining to all religions. The movie makes Christians look bad according to Christians because a closed-minded religious person will only see this movie as the way it is shown, not what's underneath.

I dunno man...I don't think this film would've been big here. The trailers looked boring...which usually isn't a good thing.

toddly6666
10-10-10, 11:10 PM
You could have simply answered "yes" and saved some typing.

According to closed-minded, conservative Christians...yes. But for me, no.

Why don't you think Agora played in the USA?

I dunno man...I don't think this film would've been big here. The trailers looked boring...which usually isn't a good thing.

No, not boring at all - it's an exciting film and moves along at a very quick pace - not one dull moment in the film. The teaching/talky scenes are even more exciting than the action scenes! Definitely a rental! I'm glad I didn't buy the Spanish blu-ray, cuz it is a great movie once type of film. I don't think I could watch it so many times.

BJacks
10-11-10, 01:26 AM
According to closed-minded, conservative Christians...yes. But for me, no.

Why don't you think Agora played in the USA?I really don't think there was any sort of conspiracy behind the film not getting a wider release. Any slower paced historical film is going to be a tough sell. And for what it's worth, I didn't see the film as necessarily anti-Christian. It's basically anti-everybody with the exception of Hypatia.

Solid Snake
10-11-10, 01:38 AM
According to closed-minded, conservative Christians...yes. But for me, no.

Why don't you think Agora played in the USA?



No, not boring at all - it's an exciting film and moves along at a very quick pace - not one dull moment in the film. The teaching/talky scenes are even more exciting than the action scenes! Definitely a rental! I'm glad I didn't buy the Spanish blu-ray, cuz it is a great movie once type of film. I don't think I could watch it so many times.

I didn't say the film was boring. I haven't seen it. Just that the trailers given looked boring and IF that was what was given to us here in the US...yeah..expect it to fail.

toddly6666
10-11-10, 01:51 AM
I really don't think there was any sort of conspiracy behind the film not getting a wider release. Any slower paced historical film is going to be a tough sell. And for what it's worth, I didn't see the film as necessarily anti-Christian. It's basically anti-everybody with the exception of Hypatia.

Am I missing something? This film wasn't slow at all. It felt like there was enough bloodshed in this film to satisfy the masses. It was as mainstream as Troy or Robin Hood or Kingdom of Heaven.

If not for the anti-Christian conspiracy, what exactly do you think prevented movie theaters across USA from playing this movie? All I can think of is "Americans don't like unhappy endings" which can cause movies to financially fail...

I don't think Christian "I love Passion of the Christ" Americans would accept this film.

Check out this funny review from Father Robert Barron! http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2010/0509/barron.aspx

Supermallet
10-11-10, 02:03 AM
Anti-Christian conspiracy? How do people come up with this stuff?

Philzilla
10-11-10, 01:10 PM
It was as mainstream as Troy or Robin Hood or Kingdom of Heaven.



All those films were box office duds, or am I wrong?

BJacks
10-11-10, 03:21 PM
Am I missing something? This film wasn't slow at all. It felt like there was enough bloodshed in this film to satisfy the masses. It was as mainstream as Troy or Robin Hood or Kingdom of Heaven.There may have been bloodshed but I wouldn't call Agora an action movie (like the ones you cited) or a mainstream one by any stretch. There were many dialogue-driven scenes which slowed the pace of the film...and don't get me wrong, I was fine with them. But the entire thing had a European feel which doesn't exactly bode for American audiences. And Troy, Robin Hood and the Crusades are mass-appeal topics (for the most part)...not really so with a biopic on Hypatia and the fight between Pagen and Christian Rome.

Agora is hardly the only historical film this year to not get a real release, by the way. Look at Neil Marshall's Centurion. And you can't blame an anti-Christian bias for that one.

Dr Mabuse
10-11-10, 03:36 PM
Anti-Christian conspiracy? How do people come up with this stuff?

:lol:

-screwy-

Blade
10-11-10, 03:42 PM
Didn't you read what I just wrote? I said it makes any fanatics of any religion look bad - not Christians...but I understand now why US theaters didn't play it in mainstream theaters, because USA is a Christian-controlled country and wouldn't want a movie to to make them look bad. On the surface to Christians, they will think this movie is making fun of them. But the moral of the movie is that it's pertaining to all religions. The movie makes Christians look bad according to Christians because a closed-minded religious person will only see this movie as the way it is shown, not what's underneath. Are you serious? The movie wasn't put into wide release in the US because it shows religion/Christians in a bad light?

Do you watch movies that are released in the US? Religion/Christian bashing is hardly a reason why films don't get made here.

The Passion of the Christ was a phenomenon here because such a strongly religious film that didn't insult mainstream religious views was so popular.

I'm just so incredibly gobsmacked at your take on this.... They didn't show it because it made Christians look bad... unbelievable.

BambooLounge
10-15-10, 12:04 AM
Check out this funny review from Father Robert Barron! http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2010/0509/barron.aspx

I have Agora sitting on my desk, so I'll get to the DVD soon. But, the review you posted is actually fairly well-written film criticism. He addresses what he views as anti-Christian sentiment in Agora by citing the film itself and most importantly camera placement and mise en scene.

The counter-narrative about Hypatia he discusses is an exercise in introducing a different historical viewpoint on ancient history. Perhaps you have your own anti-Christian issues that need to be worked out and not Agora.

As for why the film didn't play well in America. It is simple, it is a small, poorly marketed film with no huge stars, fart jokes, or transforming 3D crap. Aside from Passion of the Christ, no sweeping historical religious epic has really done well in America within the past 20 years.

You should stop trying to read an Anti-Christian or Pro-Christian slant into everything. That should help you wrap your head around why Agora was not a box office smash.

The parallels between then and now are hardly subtle. The warning bell that “Agora” sounds may be loud and at times a little grating, but what’s wrong with that? The skeptical and the secular also need stories of martyrdom and rousing acts of cinematic preaching.

Seems even the Times critic who gave the film the NYT Recommended Seal noticed some of the same issues as the review you posted and laughed off. Only that critic took issue with them and this critic looked past them. Happens all the time in film criticism and with all different types of films.