Saturday, April 26, 2008

First Look: Alejandro Amenábar's Agora Set

Alejandro Amenábar's Agora Set in Delimara, Malta

Agora is an English language film described as a historical drama set in early Egypt concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while also falling in love with his master, a female philosophy professor and atheist. The website adds a bit more detail to the story: Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz plays astrologer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria who fights to save the collected wisdom of the ancient world. Her slave Davus (Max Minghella of Syriana) is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity. In addition to Weisz and Minghella, Agora also stars Rupert Evans, Michael Lonsdale, and Homayoun Ershadi.

Agora is written and directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar (The Others ,The Sea Inside).

The film doesn't even have a US distributor yet, but is shooting for 15 weeks and should wrap by June. Local Maltese workers are being employed in roles and crew positions, which is rare for Malta, and the production is giving new life to the city. It's great to see a small project like this slowly building buzz because it sounds like something special that the Maltese are supporting. In actuality, it sounds like a movie that definitely captures my interest but I can't say I'm sold until I really get a feel for the atmosphere Alejandro Amenábar is creating and more details about the story.

In fact, this reminds me a lot of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. That movie featured a phenomenal recreation of an eighteenth century Paris yet was highly underrated. I'm hoping Agora gains some more traction than Perfume at the least. We'll be following this project as it develops and let you know once we hear more or get any more new photos.

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