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.
Branch Call Number: DVD Agora
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (126 min.) :,sd., col. ;,4 3/4 in.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Aug 11, 2019

Agora is about a brilliant philosopher by the name of Hypatia. The strongest metaphor of the film was when the ignorant religious extremists burned ancient knowledge and destroyed a library of wisdom and wrecked the Serapeum. Whether the temple had a library, I think of it as an allegory of religious change, emblematic of the destruction of an old way of thinking and how history continues getting lost. It might happen again. In fact, it is. When government censors our freedom of speech and establishes new ideologies and laws, we should proceed with caution on the fate and books of our empire. Keep the purity of our truth alive in the libraries; liberate our minds, and stop censoring, deleting, or hiding our past and the truth. The opening titles, though, simply speak of “the greatest library on Earth” but which library do they speak of? We are not sure whether the Serapeum in Alexandria was destroyed by the Christian mob in 391, but whether the Christians burned the library or not, I can safely write, history repeats itself. According to historical fact, Emperor Theodosius I created a decree that promulgated in 391 that "no one is to go to the sanctuaries, [or] walk through the temples” and you wonder why we don’t know whether the Christians burned the temple or not. War and religion are connected, which is another method to divide our society. Pagans, Jews, and Christians are all guilty of violence. There are Christian leaders who have done their own evils, so many murder in the name of Jesus and that is a historical fact, and people die all in the wrong context. Chaos, confusion, and the opportunity for theocratic and religious dictatorship emerged from the chaos and dawned upon the earth. In the film, the Christians replaced the Pagan leaders and like today the Satanists are replacing the old Christian ideology. The devil will become our next God and the Satanic temple our next place of worship. The Pagans were forced to convert to Christianity, as it was the new norm of their day. The burning of the Church of Notre Dame resembles the burning of the library in the film. In the movie, Cyril was a vicious Christian leader who replaced the Pagan way of thought, and even claims that women “should be meek, silent and not teach men”. Cyril claims that Hypatia is a witch so they capture and strip her. Nothing can be more far from the teachings of Christ than the murder and torture of an innocent woman. Davus Hypatia’s slave boy understood that she will suffer a painful death so he murders Hypatia to save her from the pain. She represents the cremation of care and no longer was Europe balanced, to the point it actually plunged into the Dark Ages. Today, we just use different names to cremate the sacred feminine and the love of women. Hypatia freed her slave Davus, and he moved from one method of enslavement to a religious enslavement under the guises of a priest class and ecclesiastical power. The film ends with him leaving so it is possible he freed himself from all methods of government and dictatorship. If one person awakens the seed has finally been planted. 4/5. @janmarrow1225 of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

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Semiconscious
Jun 01, 2019

Although it's not historically accurate (no surprise there), Agora is a compelling & unusual story that few films have the courage to present. The depiction of ancient Alexandria is incredible. This movie definitely explains why civilization lapsed into the Dark Ages for a nearly thousand years.

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blkops33
Feb 04, 2019

The best teacher in Herstory!
Never thought a film about Historical education could inriege me so much.
Since I'm so under ejamaktad, it oint evan foony!!!

OH YA! I Own this film too! I forgot!

n
NancyLDraper
Oct 12, 2018

WARNING: THIS FILM EVOKED A RANT. If you ever doubted that there was a war between science and faith, this movie should be proof. This is a blatant testimony of secular humanists - that all belief systems and people of faith are ultimately evil and only the sciences and the great thinkers are pure. Their belief in tolerance has become intolerant. And the saddest part of all is that our society is swallowing this belief system hook line and sinker. We've trained our children in it. Our culture has elevated its brilliant academics and scientist to sainthood, whitewashing their vices, and refusing to see their propensity to self-destruction, hubris and dismissal of any other conclusions than their own (the very antithesis of free thought). I say this as a person educated in secular humanist thought and granted degrees by such institutions who is a person increasingly convinced that they are as intolerant to faith as they say faith is to them. What they don't see is that their science has become a religion, too, and if they are consistent in their prejudices they will see that their religion is dangerous and will support inhuman crimes against people who hold anything dearer than what they espouse. To support this religion of science, all faith based belief systems are misrepresented and vilified, as are the Christians and Jews in this movie. Did Alexandra fall? Yes. Was this a great loss to humanity? Yes. Were there wars between factions? Has there ever not been? These are more rightly seen as social politics than religion. Humans are flawed. They are not worthy gods. How many times do we have to see that we are the victims of our baser instincts? To put your faith in the supremacy of human thought or human nature is to miss the testimony of history. I chose to put my faith in something greater than humanity and I think history is on my side. OK, rant over, now back to the movie. You can see what I think of the theme and storytelling (its misleading and ultimately dangerous). I thought the acting was good, and the plot tensions were real. All in all it was a good production. I just think its underlying assumptions are dangerous and evil. For production alone I give it a 7 (good) out of 10. [Historically biased drama]

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Byond
Apr 22, 2018

I haven't elected to rate this. If you give any credence to material on wikipedia that essentially finds this mangled non-history, you might be left wondering about its appeal. As a piece of entertainment it seems to me to rank rather low compared to other things that are widely available. It does seem the spirit of the age is not to feel too troubled over fake news if it is consistent with ones preferences. A generous read might conclude it was a cautionary tale about mob rule, which could be relevant as Trump continues his rallies. As such, I found it somewhat narrow, akin to a WWF match, without the intense interest fans find in them. Those who seek to cover its alleged sins by citing allegory do a disservice to that form.

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patch666
May 01, 2017

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

ArapahoeSarahD 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.

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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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