Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Agora 2009

Directed by Alejandro Amenábar

Rachel Weisz is Hypatia, history's first recorded female philosopher, in Alejandro Amenábar's extravagantly mounted epic of the declining Roman Empire. “Fascinating… crammed with both stirring images and ideas." — LA Times

Spain In English
120 minutes CinemaScope


Fernando Bovaira
Álvaro Augustin


Alejandro Amenábar
Mateo Gil


Xavi Giménez


Nacho Ruiz Capillas

Production designer

Guy Hendrix Dyas

Costume designer

Gabriella Pescucci


Dario Marianelli


Rachel Weisz (Hypatia)
Max Minghella (Davus)
Oscar Isaac (Orestes)
Ashraf Barhom (Ammonius)
Rupert Evans (Synesius)
Michael Lonsdale (Theon)
Homayoun Ershadi (Aspasius)
Sammy Samir (Cyril)
Richard Durden (Olympius)
Omar Mostafa (Isidorus)
Oshri Cohen (Medorus)
Yousef Sweid (Peter)


Cannes (Out of Competition), Toronto 2009


Hypatia, history’s first recorded female mathematician-philosopher, lived in Alexandria during the 4th century, in the waning days of the Roman Empire. The daughter of the last director of the famed Library of Alexandria, she was known foremost as a brilliant theorist in astronomy, but 5th-century texts also speak of her forthright participation in public life and her ‘extraordinary dignity and virtue’. As she studies the mysteries of the universe, the paganism of its Roman rulers is being aggressively challenged by the recently legitimised Christians. Alejandro Amenábar’s extravagantly mounted account of Hypatia’s struggle stars Rachel Weisz and a cast of thousands. All hail the first historical epic to swirl around a heroine whose great virtue is her charismatic rationalism. — BG

“Sumptuously realized, blessed with a sterling cast and neatly balancing action with dramatic elements, Alejandro Amenábar’s (The Sea Inside) Agora is an epic in every sense of the word. A huge story set in a time long, long ago shot largely on location on huge scale, authentically detailed sets with a high profile international cast Agora hits all of its marks with precision and grace, succeeding as education, social commentary and entertainment… It is, quite simply, flat-out gorgeous. The casting is spot on in every case… and the script very neatly balances the history with the drama.” — Todd Brown, Twitch

“Yes, the movie is definitely a condemnation of fundamentalism. It’s about the moment in history when the Christians were finished being persecuted and began to persecute others.” — Alejandro Amenábar, LA Times