Directed by: Alejandro Amenabar
Written by: Alejandro Amenabar; Mateo Gil
Distributed by: Focus Features; Newmarket Films; Telecinco Cinema
Genre: Historical Drama
UK Rating: 12+
Release Date: October 9, 2009 (at Cannes Film Festival)
Runtime: 126 minutes
My rating: *****
Plot Summary (Source: IMDB): Alexandria, 391 AD: Hypatia teaches astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. Her student Orestes is in love with her, as is Davus, her personal slave. As the city's Christians, led by Ammonius and Cyril, gain political power, the institutions of learning may crumble along with the governance of slavery. Jump ahead 20 years: Orestes, the city's prefect, has an uneasy peace with Christians, led by Cyril. A group from the newly empowered Christians has now taken to enforce their cultural hegemony zealously; first they see the Jews as their obstacle, then nonbelievers. Hypatia has no interest in faith; she's concerned about the movement of celestial bodies and "the brotherhood of all". Although her former slave doesn't see it that way.
One of my favourite movies!
Minor spoiler at the end, be warned...
(I have been meaning to review this movie for a while now, so apologies for the delay!) I was recommended to watch this movie and it has easily become one of my favourite movies! The whole movie is set in Roman Alexandria, Egypt, and it dates to 4th century AD (waaaaay too late for my preferred ancient times). It tells the story of Hypatia, a philosopher, mathematician and astronomer who lives in an Alexandria under the turmoil of different religions clashing: Roman paganism, Christians and Jews. The movie explores the revolts between religions, the life of slaves, and the life of Hypatia.
The thing I love the most about the movie, not accounting for a couple of errors, is the way the story is told. It keeps the viewer constantly interested in the story. The balance between action and exposition is perfect (unlike with Pompeii, which I will write a review of at some point), the relationships between characters are just right and the scenes flow well into each other. I also really like the duality of the peace that exists inside the 'academies' (or schools) between religions and as soon as we leave that area it becomes a war zone. I highly recommend this movie to anyone! It is set in the late Roman Empire but so much happens in it that it becomes a background issue.
Anyway, until next time!
P.S. [SPOILERS] The only thing that I hated was watching the great library of Alexandria burn... Whyyyyy did you show that in such detail?...