Rus­sia seeks to calm ten­sions over czar love af­fair film

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Rus­sia’s cul­ture min­is­ter has sought to down­play the “hys­te­ria” sur­round­ing a new film de­pict­ing the love af­fair be­tween Rus­sia’s last czar and a bal­le­rina, amid ar­son at­tacks and threats against cin­e­mas. Vladimir Medin­sky wrote on Twit­ter yes­ter­day that “Matilda” was just “an or­di­nary fea­ture film.” The movie - which is yet to be re­leased - has sparked harsh crit­i­cism from hard-line na­tion­al­ists and some Ortho­dox be­liev­ers in Rus­sia. Although most peo­ple ac­cept that the af­fair hap­pened, they main­tain its de­pic­tion in the movie has been dis­torted and that the por­trayal is vul­gar.

Ni­cholas II was mur­dered by the Bol­she­viks and can­on­ized by the Ortho­dox Church in 2000. In sep­a­rate com­ments to the TASS news agency yes­ter­day, Medin­sky said that “there is noth­ing (in the film) in­sult­ing either for the mem­ory of Ni­cholas II or for the his­tory of the Rus­sian monar­chy.” He called on Rus­sians to “ob­serve the law, com­mon sense and have re­spect for each other” and urged law en­force­ment agen­cies to pro­tect cin­e­mas and au­di­ences. Rus­sia’s largest cinema chain an­nounced on Tues­day that it had con­tacted po­lice about threats it had re­ceived over “Matilda” and would not show the movie be­cause of safety fears.

While Medin­sky said the de­ci­sion by the cinema chain op­er­ated by For­mula Kino and Cinema Park was the pre­rog­a­tive of its own­ers, he said at­tempts to pres­sur­ize cin­e­mas were “pure law­less­ness and cen­sor­ship,” TASS re­ported. Two cars were set on fire ear­lier this week out­side the of­fice of the at­tor­ney for di­rec­tor Alexei Uchi­tel and signs read­ing “burn for Matilda” were re­port­edly found near the scene. Last month, as­sailants tried to set fire to Uchi­tel’s film stu­dio. Uchi­tel has said the au­di­ences who have at­tended pre-re­lease view­ings of Matilda have re­acted pos­i­tively to the film, and has called on the state to en­sure the safety of cin­ema­go­ers. Matilda is set to be re­leased in Rus­sia on Oct 26. — AP

On this file photo pro­vided by Rock Films stu­dio Ger­man ac­tor Lars Eidinger as the last Rus­sian Czar Ni­cholas II dur­ing the film­ing of Rus­sian di­rec­tor Alexei Uchi­tel’s movie “Matilda” in St Peters­burg, Rus­sia. — AP

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