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22 September 2018

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Author: The Editors

Nov/Dec 2017
Film & Television
Page 16   ( 2 pages)

Summary: The recent controversy about a new film on the last tsar and the ballerina Mathilde Kschessinskaya is stirring up controversy well in excess of what one might expect.


Russian authorities would like to mark the centennial year of the Russian revolutions by stressing the unity of the country, to show that past strife has long since been replaced by stability.

But, as Russia approaches the end of 2017, tempers are flaring around a biopic about Nicholas II’s love affair with the ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska.

Old debates die hard.

The movie, Matilda, by Alexei Uchitel, is making Orthodox conservatives seethe, and it has pushed some extremists to make bomb threats against movie theaters as a way to prevent screenings. How, opponents ask, dare Uchitel, whose film focuses on the documented love affair between Nicholas (prior to his marriage or ascent to the throne) and Mathilde, a dancer at the Mariinsky Theater, show a decidedly unregal side of the venerated martyr tsar?

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