Betsy Speicher

Agora (2009)

Rate this movie   8 votes

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14 posts in this topic

Wish this movie was being shown in KC area - UGH!!!

theDML2112

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This movie was released in 2009 and did not reached the U.S. until 2010. And the movie is showing at selected theaters only.

I highly recommend this movie because the plot of it is Reason versus Faith and the consequences when faith prevails in a society. The movie is suppose to be a true story. Although I haven't read much about the main character in the movie, Hypatia (which was greatly portrayed by Rachel Weisz), the sequence of the events in the movie was well done and the rational and the mystics were very well depicted.

As soon as the movie ended, the first thing that came in to my mind was: OPAR - I need to read OPAR again.

Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

One of my favorite lines by Hypatia to Synesius: "You don't question what you believe. I must."

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Wish this movie was being shown in KC area - UGH!!!

theDML2112

Great news! You can pre-order the dvd that will be released on October 9 at Amazon. It's definitely worth buying.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

My wife and I saw the movie, and we both loved it. It was also horrifying to see the terror instituted by the Christians. It reminded one of the Taliban of today and demonstrated that religion, per se, is to be defeated. The movie's theme dramatized reason vs. faith quite well. Knowledge vs. superstition, love of life versus hatred of the good were also sub-themes. The political maneuverings of supposedly religious and spiritual people demonstrates that evil knows how to deal with reality when it need to acquire power over others. It did a wonderful job of showing the relationship between faith and force and how and why they go hand-in-hand.

I'm not sure how historically accurate the movie was, since a lot of this couldn't have been written down or even retained following the Christian conquest. Although Hypatia was the hero, she was a strong representative of Plato with some unacknowledged Aristotle mixed in. The latter element allowing her to make some of her discoveries. It was near the end of the movie she finally began rejecting her view of "perfection" and the need for reality to conform to it that she made her great, short-lived discovery.

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Wish this movie was being shown in KC area - UGH!!!

theDML2112

Great news! You can pre-order the dvd that will be released on October 9 at Amazon. It's definitely worth buying.

THANK YOU FOR THE HEADS UP !! That IS great news !

theDML2112

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I thought the movie was very well done and even though I already knew Hypatia's outcome I still enjoyed it.

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Though I don't get many DVD's now, I decided to buy this one because no local theatres carried the movie.

I would have liked to have seen more of Hypatia's mind shown at work, but they did have notable scenes where her brilliance was demonstrated and not just asserted.

Where the movie shines is in contrasting the evil of faith, specifically Christianity, with inquiring minds, especially Hypatia's, and showing the cancerous growth of Christianity in Alexandria and how that steadily eroded rational thought and liberty. The destruction of the Library is fully in keeping with that evil, and finally the murder of Hypatia by the Christian mob. Although I believe that time travel is unfortunately impossible, that's one instance where I would love to be able to go back to point prior to the destruction of the Library, with a 0.50 caliber machine gun and many, many rounds, and deal directly with that mob. It's hard to tell how history would have gone with the library still intact and Hypatia still alive to grow it, but I think it's very likely that its destruction set back civilization many centuries.

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Phil, I agree with you and would have loved to see you taking out the "mob."

War brings back peace better than any other means, so instead of "giving peace a chance," let us "give war a chance!"

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I just got my Netflix DVD. So I get a chance to watch it again.

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I had only one beef with this motion picture. It had a scene where Hypatia hypothesizes that the Earth moves about the sun in an elliptical orbit. It even has Rachel Wiesz (as Hypatia) tracing out an ellipse using two pegs and a stretched chord. This was very a-historical. Aristarchus who first postulated that the earth moves about the sun never assumed an elliptical orbit. Kepler who did come up with the hypothesis of the elliptical orbit did so after attempting to fit the motion of Mars with a circular orbit. He could not do it and as a desparate move assumed an elliptical orbit instead of a circular orbit. He get a good fit to Tycho Brahe's data. But Kepler had no physical basis for doing this. Ne never hit on the notion that the Sun pulls the earth inward by some kind of force. This was for Newton to discover.

The history of the motion picture is defective but the scene is very moving.

Alas, Hypatia, a Platonist, never caught onto a heliocentric hypothesis. That had to wait another 1100 years until Kepler got it.

ruveyn

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Ruveyn, your point is a good one and completely correct, but the intent in the movie of crediting her with the Heliocentric hypothesis was just to tantalize the viewer with the idea of what might have been lost when an allegedly great mind was silenced before its time. Since they really didn't know what was in Hypatia's mind and little if anything was written down, other than her influence on her students many of whom became leaders, they just picked a hypothesis that was, as you rightly point out, not even considered until centuries later, and credited it to her to make their point. They discuss this in the "making of" documentary that accompanies the DVD.

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Ruveyn, your point is a good one and completely correct, but the intent in the movie of crediting her with the Heliocentric hypothesis was just to tantalize the viewer with the idea of what might have been lost when an allegedly great mind was silenced before its time. Since they really didn't know what was in Hypatia's mind and little if anything was written down, other than her influence on her students many of whom became leaders, they just picked a hypothesis that was, as you rightly point out, not even considered until centuries later, and credited it to her to make their point. They discuss this in the "making of" documentary that accompanies the DVD.

Here is another historical blooper. There is a scene where Hypatia and her former student, now the governor of Alexandria are sailing in the harbor. She has an assistant drop of a heavy sack from the top of the mast. It falls right at the foot of the mast establishing without doubt inertia., Non of the Greek thinkers, Plato, Aristotle or any other had the faintest idea of inertia. This experiment was proposed as a gedanken Galileo. So the motion picture had Hypatia carrying out an experiment thought up by Gallileo 1150 years later.

Even so, Aristarchus did conjure with the idea that Earth was just another planet going around the sun. He had no physical concepts to back that idea up, but he did think of it. In the first edition of his book, Copernicus acknowledges that Aristarchus had the heiocentric idea first.

Please don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the movie very much. It was a movie about -ideas- which one rarely sees nowadays.

ruveyn

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