Barry Jordan
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The rage of unreason: Ágora
in Alejandro Amenábar
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This chapter describes the origins of Ágora, including some background on the historical underpinnings of its subject matter and its modern inspiration in the work of a world-famous planetary scientist. It considers the production, distribution and exhibition phases, given the film's unprecedented scale and cost and the serious difficulties it faced in finding a distributor for the American market. The chapter explores Ágora's relationship to genre, to the historical epic tradition in filmmaking and argues that in many ways it presents itself as a 'counter-epic', in its subject matter, scripting, narrative outline, character design and film style. It compares the film briefly to other examples of mainstream Hollywood epic filmmaking, in particular to Ridley Scott's Gladiator and Wolfgang Petersen's Troy. The chapter suggests that weaknesses in scripting and character design compromise spectator engagement and thus weaken the film's appeal to mainstream audiences.

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