A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hope of pursuing freedom while falling in love with his mistress, the famous philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria.
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. Written by
There were days when shooting had to delay for a few seconds. This was because of the nearby churches of Kalkara, Vittoriosa amongst others which have their bells obviously ringing at mid-noon. These bells have been in use for decades. The bells could be heard from the sets of Ricasoli. See more »
A pharaoh hound is shown twice. Despite the name, this dog is not native to Egypt but to Malta (where the film was shot) and was first identified in 1647, not the period of the film. See more »
[Looks up at night sky]
If I could just unravel this just a little bit more, and just get a little closer to the answer, then... Then I would go to my grave a happy woman.
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Weisz shines but the film is somewhat of an enigma.
Fascinating look into a view of the struggle between religion and scientific morality but the script needed a good rewrite in order to get a firm hold of the subject matters it raised. Some of the themes raised by the script does not gel in certain scenes and a few of the characters are thinly drawn out and are more caricatures than human beings. Rachel Weisz however does lift this move above its short comings with a brilliant and moving performance that captures the struggles of a woman trying to bring sense to a world on the brink of the Dark Ages and her performance as well as the performances of her costars ( Oscar Isaac, Max Minghella and Ashraf Barhom) makes you stay until the tragic end.
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