"You do not question what you believe. You cannot. I must."
One pithy line neatly illustrates the tensions in Alejandro Amenabar's latest - Agora.
The "robe and sandal" epic portrays the ancient city of Alexandria in the twilight years of the Roman empire. The fraying political hold of the Romans leave a vacuum for religious factions to take over. Christians, Jews and Pagans all struggle to maintain influence over the city's governors and governed. And in the middle of the maelstrom, Hypatia, Neoplatonist philosopher/mathematician and part-time political advisor.
Based on real characters and events from the fifth century, the themes tackled in Agora are still very much contemporary. Amenabar's directorial eye casts reflections on humankind's search for meaning and order in the universe. The film also depicts the problematic posed by the intersection of the religious and political realms. And at the heart of it all, the struggle to reconcile faith with reason.
Oh, and let me say, atheists, agnostics, feminists, scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, RH advocates and people with non-universalizing tendencies will probably love this film. :-)