3025Re: A Review of Agora from Le Monde
- Feb 4 10:59 AM--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
>That's great news, glad to get your positive reactions - Lonsdale is a fine actor, so another indication this is a serious effort. If the spirit is right, a little historical inaccuracy is hardly the end of the world, and it is a film and not a documentary, after all. I like Rachel Weisz and she would seem a perfect choice for the role.
> Hi Dennis,
> here's some comments I posted on another list:
> Just saw Almenabar's Agora, his portrait of the life of Hypatia, and
> thought it was terrific, no doubt the best film about Antiquity I have
> seen. It was well acted, with surprising understatement, and the
> computer-enhanced vistas of ancient Alexandria were beautiful. There may
> well have been historical howlers in there, but if so I missed them. It
> seemed to me a convincing portrayal of life among the elite of 5th-century
> The Christians are, of course, the bad guys, especially the bearded,
> black-clad Parabolani (Talibani?), a mob of ignorant thugs who eventually
> do in the virtuous Hypatia. Cyril of Alexandria might well sue for
> defamation if he were still in this veil of tears. But I saw nothing that
> contradicts what I think is known of that period, with perhaps two
> First, H.'s student Synesius of Cyrene is depicted as a rather slimy
> individual and at one point defends a fundamentalist reading of Paul's
> letters to the Galatians, which seems unlikely if one has read much
> Synesius (scholars can't even agree he was really Christian). Secondly, H.
> herself, beautiful and impossibly virtuous, is depicted as a kind of
> Galileo avant la lettre, interested almost exclusively in science. In fact
> she taught Plato and Aristotle, and is likely to have been a fairly
> standard Neoplatonist.
> But I thought the positives far outweighed the negatives. Parts I
> particularly enjoyed were Michel Lonsdale's lovely portrayed of H.'s
> father Theon ; H's ambiguous relations with her slaves (Aspasius, her
> scientific collaborator, is petrified with fear when she hugs him), and
> especially the scenes of scientific discovery : although it is probably
> unlikely that H. discovered the elliptical form of the earth's orbit 1200
> years before Brahe and Kepler, the scene where she discovers this is one
> of the most believable scenes of scientific discovery I have seen in film.
> Michael Chase
> CNRS UPR 76
Poor old Synesius - waits 1600 years for his "big moment" and then gets rather slimed!
Isn't it Eunapius who complains about the gangs of black-hooded Christian thugs? They must have picked that up from him.
I hope the film finds distribution here in America, but I won't hold my breath. Maybe if the pagans were shown as tall, purple-skinned, and all buffed and svelte...
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