St PETERSBURG, October 23. /TASS/. Russian film director Alexey Uchitel, whose new film ‘Matilda’ that stirred controversy tells the story of the romantic relationship between the heir to the Russian throne, Nikolai Romanov, and the ballerina of the Imperial Theater, Matilda Kshesinskaya, has invited the leader of a public campaign against the film, MP Natalya Poklonskaya to attend the first screening on Tuesday.
"I invite you once again to come and watch the film," Uchitel said on Monday when a reporter asked him what he would possibly like to say to Poklonskaya, who had led a campaign to ban ‘Matilda’.
Protests against the film involved mostly Russian Orthodox churchgoers who indicated that the Church had canonized Czar Nicholas, Czarina Alexandra, Crown Prince Alexis, and Grand Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia as the new martyrs and confessors of faith. At the same time, ‘Matilda’ showed the future young monarch in poignant and sensitive scenes, they said.
Uchitel said he disapproved of the protests because the participants judged the film without even watching it. "They can uphold their opinions, of course, but they should first come to the cinema and watch the film and only then can they say someone has insulted them," he said.
Several activists of the public movement, Czarist Cross, gathered on the square in front of the Mariinsky Theater before the premiere. They chanted prayers and expressed their opinions about the film.
One of them, Vladimir Znakhur who introduced himself as a coordinator of monarchic Cross-bearing processions said the goal of the action was to voice protest "against libel that targets Russia’s past".
‘Matilda’, one of the largest cinematic projects in post-Soviet Russia, aspires to bring to the limelight the crucial moments in Russian history at the turn of the 19th century, including Nicholas II’s coronation in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.
Permeating the plot is a love story involving young Nicholas and Matilda, the young star of the Imperial ballet.
Natalya Poklonskaya and Orthodox Christian activists insist that the film humiliates the memory of the Czar, who was subject to violent death as a believer of the Christian faith.
Alexei Uchitel says, on his part, Poklonskaya’s attempts to influence the creative process and the distribution of the film are inadmissible.