Delimara bay spans two eras: on one side the Freeport high-rise cranes remind one of the vicious dinosaurs wandering about Jurassic Park and on the other ancient Egypt comes to life.

A set has been built at Delimara for the shooting of the ancient Egyptian epic, Agora, based in Roman Egypt in the fourth century AD.

In the movie, Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz plays astrologer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria who fights to save the collected wisdom of the ancient world. Her slave Davus (Max Minghella) is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity.

Directed by the 35-year-old, Oscar-winning director, Alejandro Amenábar, the movie is a uniquely European production. Agora, the period drama, is his second English-language film following The Others (2001), starring Nicole Kidman.

The idea is to bring ancient Alexandria back to life, allowing the audience to see, feel and smell a remote civilisation as if it were as real as today, the director has been quoted as saying.

Agora marks a series of firsts for the island. Not only is an entire film of such a scale being shot here for the first time but also many Maltese are being employed in roles and crew positions that are usually taken up by foreigners.

Agora is also the longest movie to be shot on the island, with an estimated 76 shooting days (15 weeks) scheduled. The production has been in preparation since October and should wrap by the end of June.

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