Friday 30 June 2023
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Book here now: £9 full price • £7or £5 if you prefer – please pay what you can*
Rachel Weisz gives an outstanding performance as the mathematician and philosopher Hypatia in a sword’n’sandals movie with a brain. **** The Guardian
Rachel Weisz gives an outstanding performance as the mathematician and philosopher Hypatia. This movie proposes her as a pioneer of modern astronomy and martyr to rational thought: she demonstrates the heliocentric nature of the universe, thus anticipating Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo, all without benefit of telescopes, and is finally slaughtered by woman-hating early Christians.
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 the 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”.
In reviving this tale from the ancient world, Amenábar subtly invites his audience to remember the Taliban, the war on terror and the looting of Iraq’s national museum. Unlike most toga movies, it doesn’t rely on CGI spectacle, but real drama and ideas.
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