Russia seeks to calm tensions over czar love affair film

MOSCOW — Top Russian officials have 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.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that "Matilda" was just "an ordinary feature film."

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Wednesday that pressure on cinemas was "unacceptable" and he condemned the "unpleasant form" debate about the film had taken.

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 Wednesday, 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.

Peskov said that any extremism in Russia should be investigated by the security services.

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.

Related News

BBC lists Top 100 films of 21st century; David Lynch tops it

Aug 24, 2016

There may still be 84 years to go, but a new list ranks David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood for Love" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" as the top films of the 21st century _ so far

The Latest: Dems seek details of communications about Russia

Mar 6, 2017

Congressional Democrats are seeking details about reports of contacts between the White House and the Justice Department concerning the FBI's ongoing review of efforts by the Russian government to unlawfully influence the U.S. presidential election

Ashley Graham is a woman with curves but don't say plus-size

May 12, 2017

Ashley Graham is a model with curves who has burst into the mainstream since landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2016.

You may also like these

BBC lists Top 100 films of 21st century; David Lynch tops it

Aug 24, 2016

There may still be 84 years to go, but a new list ranks David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood for Love" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" as the top films of the 21st century _ so far

The Latest: Dems seek details of communications about Russia

Mar 6, 2017

Congressional Democrats are seeking details about reports of contacts between the White House and the Justice Department concerning the FBI's ongoing review of efforts by the Russian government to unlawfully influence the U.S. presidential election

Ashley Graham is a woman with curves but don't say plus-size

May 12, 2017

Ashley Graham is a model with curves who has burst into the mainstream since landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2016.

Financial Markets

The Buzz Reporters bring you the latest from Hollywood, to the hottest in Bollywood in a flash.

Contact us: sales@thebuzzreporters.com

EntertainmentNews MediaOnline MediaRadioTelevision Press Broaden