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Russian Culture Ministry issues screening certificate to historical drama Matilda

August 10, 2017, 14:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The screening certificate is valid on the whole territory of Russia

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MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. The Russian Culture Ministry on Thursday issued a screening certificate to Aleksey Uchitel’s controversial history drama Matilda to award it a 16+ age-pegged content rating, the director of the ministry’s Cinematography Department Vyacheslav Telnov said on Thursday.

"The Ministry of Culture on Thursday issued a screening certificate to Aleksey Uchitel’s film Matilda in a legal way. The ministry considered the application in a standard procedure. The film was seen and then a conclusion regarding its conformity with Russian legislation written. The audience age-pegged rating of the film content is the sole screening restriction envisaged by the law. The film was rated 16+," Telnov said.

According to the official, the screening certificate is valid on the whole territory of Russia. However, individual territories have the right to impose their own restrictions.

"I confirm there have been messages from the leaders of the Republic of Dagestan and the Chechen Republic with a request for removing their areas from the screening certificate. I can only say that the certificate applies to the country’s whole territory. This means that it is impossible to bar it from any individual territories. However, the regions’ executive authorities have the power to act in accordance with the local traditions and customs to decide on their own whether this or that film can be shown locally," he said.

Messages from republics

The leaders of Dagestan on Wednesday asked the Ministry of Culture to remove the republic from Matilda’s screening certificate. Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Karibov said a message containing the request had been sent in July 2017.

Earlier, the media said Chechnya’s head Ramzan Kadyrov, too, asked the Russian Ministry of Culture in writing to exclude his republic from the screening certificate.

First Deputy Culture Minister Vladimir Aristarkhov said the Ministry of Culture was not in the position to make such exceptions. He added that such matters were to be settled with distributors.

Conflict background

The premier showing of the history drama telling a controversial story of the private life of Russia’s last Emperor Nicholas II and his family is expected in October 2017. German actor Lars Eidinger stars as Nicholas II and Polish actress Michalina Olszanska as ballerina Matilda Kschessinskaya. Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite and Russian actors Yevgeny Mironov, Sergey Garmash, Danila Kozlovsky and Grigory Dobrygin are other cast members.

Russian State Duma member Natalya Poklonskaya is the film’s firm opponent, determined to prevent its release. She argues that it is an insult to the memory of Nicholas II and the feeling of believers. Poklonskaya has already addressed the Prosecutor-General’s Office with a query and a negative conclusion by experts. She said the critics had examined the film’s trailers and the full text of the film’s script.

Uchitel has dismissed attempts to influence the artistic process and the film’s future as impermissible.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor’s office of the city of Simferopol warned the local movie theaters against showing Matilda’s trailers after Poklonskaya’s message.

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