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

Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah each land a Showtime series

Aug 11, 2016

Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah will each star in their own half-hour comedy series for Showtime

Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan gets US apology for airport stop

Aug 12, 2016

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan tweeted that he gets detained at U.S. airports "every damn time" after he was stopped at the Los Angeles International Airport

Nate Parker accepts Sundance award, creates youth fellowship

Aug 12, 2016

The writer, director, producer and star of "The Birth of a Nation" says the Sundance Institute offered him encouragement and support when he needed it most, and now he hopes to pass that opportunity onto the next generation of filmmakers

You may also like these

After storm halts tribute, A-Rod doubles in Yanks' finale

Aug 13, 2016

His pregame tribute ended by a storm, Alex Rodriguez began his final game with the New York Yankees by hitting a tying first-inning double

A-Rod released by Yankees, who owe him $27 million more

Aug 13, 2016

Alex Rodriguez has been unconditionally released by the New York Yankees, ending his 12 years in pinstripes and perhaps his big league career after 22 seasons

Gabby Douglas calls Twitter bullying 'really hurtful'

Aug 14, 2016

Gabby Douglas calls Twitter bullying 'really hurtful' as she leaves Olympic stage

There are so many celebrities out there, but who’s the real Diva? Discover more on your favorite celebrities and get closer to them only here in The Diva Today

Contact us: sales@thedivatoday.com

Celebrity Paparazzi Movies Music Television Programs Variety Shows Press