Thursday, July 14, 2011

Next screening   |  Thursday 28th July 2011

5.30pm AGM

6.30pm pre-screening drinks and nibbles
7.00pm film screens
**** Margaret ****.5 David  ******* IMDB

4th century A.D. Egypt under the Roman Empire… Violent religious upheaval in the streets of Alexandria spills over into the city’s famous Library. Trapped inside its walls, the brilliant astronomer Hypatia and her disciples fight to save the wisdom of the Ancient World… Among them, the two men competing for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes and Davus, Hypatia’s young slave, who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians.

After his Oscar for The Sea Inside, Alejandro Amenábar now invites the audience to “experience the reality of a remote civilisation.” AGORA is a singular journey to the Egypt of two thousand years ago, to the mythical city of Alexandria and to the dramatic destruction of its Library. The film is inspired by real events which have never before been brought to the screen. It is the director’s fifth film, a huge scale production fraught with remarkable energy.

map of ancient Agora, Alexandria
Shot in English, AGORA boasts an international cast. Rachel Weisz, (Oscar for The Constant Gardener), plays Hypatia of Alexandria. Young actor Max Minghella (Syriana) plays Davus, the slave. Around them, a very solid cast: Oscar Isaac (Body of Lies), Rupert Evans (Hellboy), Ashraf Barhom (The Kingdom), Sammy Samir (Nativity) and the veteran French actor Michael Lonsdale (Munich).

“One of the things that surprised us most during our research was discovering that there were two libraries in Alexandria. The first was burnt down when Julius Cesar arrived. The film is about the second library, and Hypatia was one of the leading figures in the story of its destruction. It is a period that has not been dealt with in cinema and we thought it could fascinate the audience,” says Alejandro Amenábar.

Alexandria was the hub of all intellectual learning at the time. People came from all corners of the earth to discuss theatre and philosophy and Maths and astronomy and it was a time of incredible learning and a passion for learning. And then towards the end of her life Alexandria became part of the Holy Roman Empire and it went under Christian rule and it was essentially the beginning of the Dark Ages. So she really straddled a very interesting moment in history, from the most enlightened time to perhaps one of the least enlightened times,” says Rachel Weisz.

 “From the beginning of the project, my goal, formally-speaking, was to make the audience feel like they’re following a CNN team documenting something that happened in the 4th century. That sense of urgency, like breaking news, was the basis of my approach. I wanted to break with some of the established norms of period films; not just shoot the larger format, wide angle shots and grandiose music. AGORA is a blend of rigour and spectacle.”
Daughter of Theon, the last director of the legendary Library of Alexandria, Hypatia lived in the 4th century A.D., when the decadence of the Roman Empire set in and the world began its change towards a new order. Astronomer, mathematician and philosopher, Hypatia was a noted scientist and a symbol of tolerance in her native Alexandria. Although her scientific works have been lost, the image of her that lingers in history is that of a strong woman who devoted her life to the search for truth.

Director: Alejandro Amenabar
Lead actor: Rachel Weisz
Cast: Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Rupert Evans, Ashraf Barhom, Michael Lonsdale, Sammy Samir
Producer: Alvaro Augustin, Fernando Bovaira
Screenplay: Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil

Official website including interviews with Director and film production notes
ABC 'At The Movies' Reivew
More info, goofs, Jay Leno show

Rated MA

Language = English
Country = Spain