New Hypatia movie

There’s going to be is a movie made about Hypatia, the late fourth-century Neo-Platonist and friend of Synesius who was lynched after venturing into Alexandrian politics.

Let’s welcome it.  It should stir up interest in late antiquity, particularly if they can make the Byzantine world glow with light and colour.  It doesn’t really matter if a shoal of false impressions get created.  What we need to think of is the impressionable teenagers staring open-mouthed at the screen and thinking “Wow! I want to know more about that.”  Some will go on to become academics, more will buy books about the subject, and a few will get rich in the stock market and fund archaeological expeditions.

Looks as if Cyril of Alexandria is being cast as the baddie — he’s going to be played by Actor-With-An-Arab-Name (i.e. Not One Of Us), while Hypatia will be played by the distinctly anglo-saxon Rachel Weisz.  But I can live with that, if the directors can; some of those Greeks may get quite shirty if a favourite saint is demonised, and they can be aggressive when they put their minds to it!

Update: The movie is called Agora and has already been made. A trailer exists here; with all the titles in Italian!  Thanks to Christopher Ecclestone for the link.


8 thoughts on “New Hypatia movie

  1. Dear Roger,

    The story of Hypatia, and its relationship to Cyril, has always been used, as you know, by pagans, Nestorians, and Chalcedonians, in the past, and then, since the Enlightenment, by liberals, atheists and anti-Christians, in general, to denigrate Christianity, the Church of Alexandria and the Copts. A lot of myths have been created around Hypatia – she was made to be seen young, beautiful, innocent, virtuous, and the last representative of reason in Alexandria, while her enemies, monks and ecclesiastics of Egypt, all inspired by Cyril the Great, were ignorant, intolerant, anti-reason, cruel, violent, un-Christ-like, etc., and came, not from the special, white, Greek stock, but from the contemptible black fellaheen of Egypt, etc., etc. All, or most, are myths that Copts – those who are direct descendants of the great Pharaonic race, who have immeasurably contributed to, and suffered for, Christianity – find extremely offensive.

    Now a movie, that will be produced soon, will establish the myths even further, and inject even more inaccuracies into the story, such as by selecting an Arab actor to play Cyril (I bet he will be featured as black, crude, ugly and hairy) and an Anglo-Saxon to play Hypatia (well, we know what hot, young, sexy Hollywood actress will do her).

    Such a movie will deeply disturb the Copts, who try to defend their religious and national identity against the odds – odds that the West has only recently come to partially appreciate. But such falsification of history should disturb non-Copts as well, particularly all non-biased scholars who seek to disentangle truth from myth.

    Dioscorus Boles

  2. I thought the same. The movie might well do all these things. But let’s see. After all, everything we have heard may simply be misrepresentation.

  3. So they have already produced it! The website Filmchat says it is set in Roman Egypt in the 4th century, and yet they say Cyril (Patriarch: 411-444 AD) will be featured in it. As expected, they will make her ” fight to save the old world’s wisdom from the religious riots sweeping the streets of Alexandria.” And we know what, and who,they mean by that. And, of course, when Hypatia dies in 415 AD, aged most probably 65, she would still be as beautiful and sexy as Rachel Weisz is today. It is all Hollywood, sex, money and falsification. But you are right, we haven’t seen it yet.

  4. I have found this which talks about the movie. And I read this: [Weisz had never heard of Hypatia before reading the script, but she said the woman’s story resonates today.

    “Really, nothing has changed. I mean, we have huge technological advances and medical advances, but in terms of people killing each other in the name of God, fundamentalism still abounds,” Weisz said. “And in certain cultures, women are still second-class citizens, and they’re denied education.”]

    … and I laughed. What a low IQ. They want to equate St Cyril and the Copts with the Muslim fundamentalists of today – and, yeh, the Copts treated their women as second-class citizens, and denied them education!

    Have I mentioned in my previous post all those who hate St. Cyril, and try to exploit the story, nay the myth, of Hypatia?

  5. Well, she’s only an actress, and saying whatever she’s been told to say. She probably doesn’t know who the Copts are.

    I don’t think the film can do any damage. Attempts to portray Christians as hate-maddened murderers like Moslems are routine — hey, the selfish people in power hate Christ because He condemns their wicked lives — and won’t reflect particularly on Copts.

    As we saw in Samuel of Kalamoun, it was the bad treatment of women by Islam that was a problem for the Christian community.

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