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Showing posts from July, 2010

Agora and Alejandra Amenábar

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By Moira Sullivan
Agora is a beautifully filmed historical narrative by Alejandro Amenábar, set in 4th century Alexandria, in Roman Egypt. It is an English language film made in Spain that won seven national film awards or Goya. Rachel Weisz plays Hypatia, an astronomer who was convinced that the earth was round and circulated around the sun. The film shows the emergence of power hungry Christians who destroyed the ancient knowledge of Hypatia and her students by desecrating their library and burning their books.  Hypatia was so advanced for her time and threatened the new world view of one deity so much that eventually Christians called her a witch and stoned her to death. In an unusual depiction of this time, the Christians dress in black and are shown as a swarm of screaming men,  a large mob often incited to riots by ill thinking leaders. The atrocities of the time were horrible, and students are forced to either become Christians or die. The history of the time is presented in stu…

Breathless Revisited

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By Moira Sullivan
It does take your breath away to see such a pristine clear copy of Jean Luc Godard’s classic 50 years later with a new and improved translation of the French dialogue by François Truffaut, including the mysterious closing line of the film. The film that encouraged the Swiss filmmaker to later brag, "all you need is a girl and a gun". The story of small time crook Michel Poiccard, played by Jean Paul Belmondo who falls in love with Patricia Franchini, the late Jean Seberg, has gone down in film history as one of the tragic comic love tales of our time. Michel who tries to imitate Humphrey Bogart is not very good at it at all, but you have to admire his comical efforts in trying to look tough with a cigarette hanging out of his thick lips, which he often strokes with his thumb, and his lack of success as a gangster, which includes having to steal money from his girlfriend’s purse. Godard’s film is so simple that it works again and again. You never tire of hear…