MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. The chief of the Moscow Patriarchate’s external relations department, Metropolitan Ilarion, of Volokolamsk, has said the controversy over the film Matilda reminds him of the rows over the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose staff in 2015 fell victim to a terrorist attack after publishing caricature images of the Prophet Muhammad.
"Regrettably the row over the film Matilda is a reminder of the controversy of several years ago over the scandalous French weekly Charlie Hebdo. Some then tried to force all of us to confront a dilemma: are you on the magazine’s side or on the side of the terrorists who raided its office and shot its staffers. Now some try to make us chose: either you support Matilda or those who call for burning cinema theaters," the press-service of the Synodal department for the ROC’s relations with society and mass media quotes Metropolitan Ilarion as saying.
Metropolitan Ilarion says he is against the restoration of censorship, but at the same time is opposed to attempts at insulting the memory of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, who died a tragic death.
"I am unequivocally and categorically against any calls for violence, any threats against any person, be it the film director, actor or distributors. I am against banning the film and against restoration of the Soviet type of censorship. But at the same time I cannot and do not want to join those who protect this film. The anniversary of the revolution is an occasion for prayer and remembrance of the innocent victims, and not for defiling their memory," he stated.
Metropolitan Ilarion said he had seen the film himself already to discover that the wife of the last Russian Emperor was presented as a "hysterical witch."
"I do hope that during the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the tragic events that resulted in multi-million losses for our people film directors, authors and painters will be able to pay a worthy tribute to the memory of the slain monarch," Ilarion said.