MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Film director Alexei Uchitel on Thursday showed his new controversial film ‘Mathilde’ at the State Duma. The show occurred on the day of the nationwide release of the film, Stanislav Govorukhin, the chairman of the parliamentary committee for culture told TASS.
"The film was screened in the format of the Duma’s parliamentary cinematic club," he said.
The audience consisted of workers of the Duma staff and several dozens of deputies. According to Govorukhin, deputy Natalya Poklonskaya who had steered a public campaign for banning ‘Mathilde’ did not come to the show.
"Natalya Poklonskaya didn’t come and frankly speaking we didn’t make any special invitations to her because it was clear she wouldn’t go anywhere," he said.
"This wasn’t Poklonskaya’s invention," Govorukhin said with an obvious reference to protests against the film. "This is a legacy of the Soviet era - I didn’t watch it but I condemn it, I didn’t read it but I am against it."
As for his impressions, he said he had watched ‘Mathilde’ twice and he liked it.
"I promised to show the film at the Duma right on the day of its release and I kept my word," Alexei Uchitel said. "There was a meaty discussion after the show and I heard some criticisms, of course, but on the whole the atmosphere was very friendly."
"You can’t pass opinions on something you’ve never seen," cosmonaut Yelena Serova, who is a deputy of the Duma and who attended the show, told TASS.
"I’m a Russian Orthodox Christian and there’s only one thing I can say, namely, Uchitel showed that people don’t attain sainthood at once, that they go through different stages of maturing," she said.
"The film shows that Nicholas II got over all the temptations and became a genuine Emperor who devoted his whole life to the country and its people," Serova said.
The scandal around ‘Mathilde’, which highlights the romance between the future Czar Nicholas and the young star of the Imperial ballet, Mathilde Kschessinska, stemmed from the conviction of certain sections of the Russian Orthodox churchgoing community that the film insults the memory of the Czar and the believers. Natalya Poklonskaya stood in the lead of the debate on the issue.
The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized Czar Nicholas, Czarina Alexandra, Crown Prince Alexis, and Grand Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, all of them barbarically slain by Bolshevik revolutionaries in Yekaterinburg in July 1918, as new holy martyrs and confessors of faith.
Alexei Uchitel said, on his part, that the attempts by Poklonskaya and Orthodox activists to wield impact on the distribution of the film were inadmissible.