Alejandro Amenabar’s historical epic Agora recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival and there is plenty of information and media related to the film to share. The film tells the story of the legendary astronomer Hypatia (Rachel Weisz), trapped in the legendary Library of Alexandria, and her fight to save the old world’s wisdom from the religious riots sweeping the streets of Alexandria.
First off is the video to the right in which The Hollywood Reporter‘s Steven Zeitchik discusses whether Amenabar’s $65 million period piece can cross over into commercial success. Meanwhile, Natasha Senjanovic at THR doesn’t seem to high on the film and actually seemed to be bored by it although she does say, “It is a pleasure to see Weisz’s scenes of scientific inquiry, which capture the passion of research and discovery without artifice or pretension. That the scientist is a woman makes it all the more engaging.”
Over at Variety Todd McCarthy seemed to enjoy the film calling it “a visually imposing, high-minded epic that ambitiously puts one of the pivotal moments in Western history onscreen for the first time.” However, he does add that a “certain heaviness of style and lack of an emotional pulse could pose problems for mass audience acceptance, at least in the U.S.”
At Screen Daily Mike Goodridge has made some lofty comparisons of which he believes the film just doesn’t live up:
As for Weisz he says, “The film rests on the shoulders of Rachel Weisz, an undoubtedly talented actress but one with a distinctly contemporary edge that feels out of place here.”
Finally, Patrick Goldstein at the Los Angeles Times calls it a “fascinating film, crammed with both stirring visual images and intellectual ideas.” He also had a chance to interview Amenabar who says Weisz was a bit concerned about the part.
“Rachel had accepted the part, but then she grew worried about that solitude, so she called me one day to talk,” Amenabar told Goldstein. “I told her, ‘Remember, I’m not offering you the part of the scientist’s wife. You are the scientist. And you are very much in love — you’re just in love with the sky.'”
Personally I can’t wait to see this film. Amenabar’s work fascinates me (The Others, The Sea Inside) and a lot of what I have read here, even the dissenting opinions, intrigue me.
Beyond the commentary I have also added six new images to our gallery for the film, which you can see right here and thanks to Bellock at DesmontandoHollywood we have a clip from the film which is featured directly below.
Agora is in Cannes looking for North American distribution… let’s hope it finds it.