The 2009 historical drama “Agora” from Newmarket Films was directed by Alejandro Amenábar with the screenplay written by Mateo Gil, based on true historical events. Starring: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom, Michael Lonsdale, Rupert Evans, Richard Durden, Sami Samir, Manuel Cauchi, Homayoun Ershadi, Oshri Cohen, Harry Borg, Charles Thake and Yousef ‘Joe’ Sweid.
This sweeping historical epic is set on the backdrop of ancient Egypt during the time it was under Roman rule. In the story which revolves around the legendary, beautiful astronomer Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) she lead a group of disciples fighting to save the wisdom of the Ancient World, as violent religious upheaval spills into the streets of Alexandria.
Passion and reason, knowledge and power, wisdom and fear all come to a head as the events that led to the end of the Roman Empire begin to unfold. Hypatia has no interest in religion; her domain is the sciences and truth. Yet as a woman in the year 391 AD she is ahead of her time and her counsel is scorned.
But her beauty and intelligence is appreciated by some who recognize her character as well as value her opinion. Among these disciples are two men competing for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes (Oscar Isaac) and Davus (Max Minghella), Hypatia’s young slave, who is facing a personal dilemma where he must choose between his secret love for her and the freedom he desires and could have if he joins the ranks of the Christians who are coming to power.
As religion becomes the central focal point of political power, the value of knowledge and civil government begins to decline. Hypatia’s pleas for tolerance and compassion for all are heard by her former student Orestes who is now the city’s prefect, and while her gender is used against taking her counsel t heart, Orestes defends her honor and tries to maintain peace with the Christians, led by Cyril (Sami Samir). But as their ascent to power accelerates, the focus become public morality as seen through their lens of principles. Soon individuals who are not Christian are targeted and then women and children. Hypatia questions how the government plans to rule without people to govern, yet the die is cast and her logic cannot stop the tide of change that is sweeping through the country.