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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  History and Archeology (Moderator: David Atherton)  |  Topic: Agora 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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commodus
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« on: June 10, 2010, 04:57:01 pm »

The new Spanish-made film Agora, about Hypatia of Alexandria, the great Neo-Platonist philosopher and mathematician, directed by Alejandro Amenábar.

This is a film I very much want to see. It has only recently found U.S. distribution and had a very limited opening late last month. It seems there is an effort to supress it both in the U.S. and in some European countries, which is rather ironic, considering its subject (though not altogether surprising).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbuEhwselE0
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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 06:53:36 pm »

Quote from: commodus on June 10, 2010, 04:57:01 pm
The new Spanish-made film Agora, about Hypatia of Alexandria, the great Neo-Platonist philosopher and methematician, directed by Alejandro Amenábar.

(that is (thankfully) quite illegal here in Oregon!   Wink  )

this is the first i've heard of this film, but it does sound interesting. so what is the contoversy?

curiously,
~ Peter
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commodus
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 07:46:52 pm »

Whoa! Major typo there.
Corrected now.

Agora is controversial because of its bias in favor of Neo-Hellenism and portraying the early Christians of Alexandria in a negative light.
Well, it IS about Hypatia who was brutally murdered by a Christian mob in 415!
It also depicts the destruction of the Serapaum of Alexandria by an earlier Christian mob in 391.
A viable criticism of the film is that it merges the two events into one, but such artistic license is not unusual in the movies.
The main objection leading to the entertainment industry's quiet supression of the movie is a perceived anti-Christian bias, though in truth it is the film's portrayal of Paganism in a postive light that seems to be the real problem for most of its critics.
This is one of the reasons I particularly want to see it, though.
That and Rachel Weisz (who plays Hypatia). Wink
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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 08:32:55 pm »

Quote
Whoa! Major typo there.
Corected now.

that's gud!   laugh
(okay, i'll stop messin' with ya now)

Quote from: commodus on June 10, 2010, 07:46:52 pm
The main objection leading to the entertainment industry's quiet supression of the movie is a perceived anti-Christian bias, though in truth it is the film's portrayal of Paganism in a postive light that seems to be the real problem for most of its critics.
This is one of the reasons I particularly want to see it, though.
That and Rachel Weisz (who plays Hypatia). Wink

ahhh, i figured something of the sort. well in that case i am definitely intrigued.
i know that neo-Hellenism is frowned upon within the borders of modern Greece itself, more's the pity. fortunately (in this case anyway) i don't live in Greece!

~ Peter
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commodus
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2010, 11:22:32 pm »

Argh! I'm typing too fast tonight (the Jack Daniels has nothing to do with it).

Yes, I believe the distribution issues were mostly in Italy, the U.S., and Greece, though it has found distributors in each.
The American opening over the Memorial Day weekend was limited to only a very few markets. Although a big budget film with an important cast, it is being treated essentially as though it were an indie film.

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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2010, 11:33:15 pm »

i actually wouldn't mind if it played like an indie film either.
either way i will probably have to wait for it to show up on NetFlix. Salem is NOT what one might consider a 'big market'.

impatiently,
~ Peter
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2010, 11:50:34 pm »

i actually wouldn't mind if it played like an indie film either.
either way i will probably have to wait for it to show up on NetFlix. Salem is NOT what one might consider a 'big market'.

Nor is Shreveport, my home, though I couldn't even find it playing in Dallas, which is a big market (and I'd drive the 3 hours over there to see it in a heartbeat if I could have).

Actually, in the U.S., foreign films, even if they're important, almost always get the short schrift indie treatment anyway. The bit of controversy about this one may actually be to its benefit. In time it will play the art house circuit and it won't be too long before it is out on DVD.

I am impatient as well.
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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2010, 07:48:33 am »

Quote from: commodus on June 10, 2010, 07:46:52 pm

Agora is controversial because of its bias in favor of Neo-Hellenism and portraying the early Christians of Alexandria in a negative light.

*****

The main objection leading to the entertainment industry's quiet supression of the movie is a perceived anti-Christian bias....

I find it astounding and a bit hard to believe that the entertainment industry in the U.S. is suppressing the film for portraying Christians in a negative light.  Portraying Christians in a negative light is a regular staple of the entertainment industry in the U.S. 

I understand that there are some groups who may have criticized the film for a perceived negative portrayal of Christians but they're not entertainment industry groups and I'd bet you 3 drachmas that they don't influence entertainment industry groups in that way.  That type of controversy would engender publicity that the entertainment industry groups would love.

I'd suggest that the limited distribution is due simply to the fact that it's a foreign film and that it is unrated.    RIght now it's only released in NY and CA.  I'd bet you another 3 drachmas that if it gets positive audience reviews and does well in those markets that you'll see a rating for the film and a broader release. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2010, 10:24:55 am »

You may be right.
However, it certainly had a difficult time finding a U.S. distributor, whatever the reason.
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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2010, 08:20:22 pm »

Here's a link about the protest in
Spain:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/civil_groups_protest_new_antichristian_film/

 
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2010, 05:27:20 pm »

It will be released in the United States on DVD October 9th.
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2010, 07:07:45 pm »

Here is IMDB's(International Movie DataBase) site for Agora. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1186830/
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 01:28:58 am »

I have just seen Agora and have to say it has been the most moving film I have seen for many a long year. I can see why various Christian groups condemn it as being anti Christian, and they have a point in that there is no direct evidence of Bishop Cyril's instigation of Hypatia's murder. For example John Sanidopoulos on his blog at-http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/historical-inaccuracies-of-movie-agora.html and Father Robert Barron at-http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/persecution/pch0251.htm.
However I'm not entirely convinced the Bishop is above suspicion and the ancient and early medieval sources, even though they are written by Christians do not put a good light on the character of the murderers, or their fiendishly cruel method of murder.

For example from Socrates of Constantinople-

Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her by scraping her skin off with tiles and bits of shell. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them.

And then there is John of Nikiû

And in those days there appeared in Alexandria a female philosopher, a pagan named Hypatia, and she was devoted at all times to magic, astrolabes and instruments of music, and she beguiled many people through Satanic wiles...A multitude of believers in God arose under the guidance of Peter the magistrate...and they proceeded to seek for the pagan woman who had beguiled the people of the city and the prefect through her enchantments. And when they learnt the place where she was, they proceeded to her and found her...they dragged her along till they brought her to the great church, named Caesareum. Now this was in the days of the fast. And they tore off her clothing and dragged her...through the streets of the city till she died. And they carried her to a place named Cinaron, and they burned her body with fire

Of course the monsters that committed the crime were not following any Christian teaching what so ever. The terrible truth is that they believed they were.

Steve


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Jaimelai
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2010, 02:48:50 pm »

Just watched Agora on Netflixs.  Very well done!  Interesting view back into time. Make sure to check out the Special Features for a little more explanation on what was behind the filmmakers vision.  I then watched it again with subtitles (for the English to Americanese translation) and got even more out of the film.   
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« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2010, 04:33:54 pm »

Yes, "Agora" is very well done. Of course the love story is entirely fictional: Hypatia was reputed to disdain physical love and, anyhow, she was probably around 60 yrs old when she was killed.
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