Set in 4th Century Alexandria, Agora tells the true tale of the woman Hypatia, a world-renowned astronomer, philosopher and teacher, who’s existence is shattered by the rising tide of religious animosity between Christian, Pagan and Jew. The rise of the monotheistic cults also marks the rise of mysogyny, and Hypatia – whose advanced thinking took twelve centuries before it was even closely replicated – is ultimately destroyable because she’s a woman.

It’s absolutely staggeringly realised, on sets physically built on the island of Malta (see this Times of Malta article on the local impacts) rather than relying on CGI -and this has the effect of making every part of the action seem very immediate and very real. The scenes shot from high above, watching mobs of people charge angrily about, are particularly breathtaking. And it’s well acted too, though with Rachel Weisz – who would seem to defy any Hollywood norm of beauty yet is completely, compellingly, intelligently beautiful – as Hypatia, how could it be otherwise? Continue reading “Agora”