Transcending its historical narrative, Agora is a movie that left me speechless. It’s a visually stunning and very fascinating exploration of the relationship between religion and science. Between progress, fear, and the mentality of the masses. Agora is a movie you recommend to other like-minded people knowing that the next time you see them and ask about it you will see that look. Their eyes will tell you everything you need to know and you can just nod. I apologize in advance for being a bit more philosophical than usual but this movie really touched me.
So, I think we should get the important stuff out of the way as soon as possible. Don’t think that Agora is some boring movie featuring long dialogues and slow pacing. On the contrary, this is a historical drama with an excellent script and imposing sets. The story takes place in Egypt, so we’ll have the opportunity to see what that place looked like some two thousand years ago. And with the $70 million budget, they could really go nuts with the visuals.
Agora is also a very gritty, no-bullshit movie, showing events and certain processes in their true light. Almost every technical aspect is simply amazing and you can feel the amount of effort that went into the production. You just need to see the opening scene and you’ll be blown away. Of course, Rachel Weisz was phenomenal as Hypatia along with Oscar Isaac and Max Minghella.
It is the year of our lord Ra 391 AD and the world is slowly becoming a place of human enlightenment. Philosophy and science are paving the way for a new future, a new world by applying rational thought and the scientific method to our experiences. We find ourselves in Egypt, still under Rome’s control. This is a bustling place of free trade and thought but also conflict. A conflict between different religions, powers, and people. And this is where we meet our heroine, Hypatia, who doesn’t yet know the magnitude of the role she’s about to play in human history.
Just after the launch of this site, Rabbit Reviews, I became very interested in atheism. I mean, I wasn’t a believer for a long time before that, it’s just that I thought there was nothing there. This was the first time I had the opportunity to hear eloquent and smart people talk about this issue freely. The first time you realize the amount of scientific progress and progress in general religion prevented, it’s fucking mind-blowing. To be fair, religion is just a platform for people who want the power to exploit. It stems from our tribal roots and as such reflects our tribal perception of ourselves, others, and the world around us. The movie Agora digs deep into these perceptions without coming off as preachy or pretentious.
It uses a very real story about Hypatia, a female philosopher and astronomer to highlight some of the issues that are plaguing our society right now. As Hegel once said: “The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” I’m sure you’re going to recognize some of the events and concepts from this movie as almost all of them are happening right now. And remember, the story in Agora takes place almost two thousand years ago! It’s at the same time fascinating and disturbing when you think about how progressive and regressive we were at that time.
As you can imagine, making a movie about these subjects is difficult. And to make things even worse, distributing it is also quite challenging. Multiple platforms did not want to add Agora to their library just because of this. I guess that after all those centuries, things are pretty much the same. However, this is where you and I come in. It’s not much but it’s an honest job, to recommend movies and if you like this one, I urge you to recommend it.
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Writers: Alejandro Amenábar, Mateo Gil
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Rupert Evans, Sami Samir, Harry Borg
Fun Stuff: Amenabar wrote the script with Rachel Weisz in mind.