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Moscow screening of controversial tsar movie cancelled for technical reasons

A number of activists have launched a campaign against the film calling for its release to be cancelled

MOSCOW, September 11. /TASS/. An early screening of Matilda, a movie describing the love story of last Russian emperor Nicholas II and a ballet dancer, has been cancelled in Moscow for technical reasons, the press service of the State Film Fund said on Monday.

"Today’s showing has been cancelled for technical reasons," the press service said.

The film’s release is set for October 26 but its early showings will take place before the official premiere to let Matilda be nominated for an Academy Award.

Film director Alexei Uchitel depicts the romance between Nicholas II and ballerina Matilda Kschessinska before his marriage and coronation.

Nicholas II and his family were executed after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.

A number of activists including MP Natalia Poklonskaya, Crimea’s former prosecutor, have launched a campaign against the film calling for its release to be cancelled and claiming that it will insult the feelings of Orthodox believers.

On Monday night two cars were set ablaze outside the office of Uchitel’s lawyer Konstantin Dobrynin in downtown Moscow. The attorney posted photos of the charred automobiles and notes left at the scene saying "Burn for Matilda" on his Facebook page.

Moscow police have launched a probe into the incident while Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov described it as "ugly and extremist manifestations of the discussion around the film."

A group calling itself "Christian State, Holy Russia" sent nearly a thousand letters with threats to owners of movie theaters across Russia, urging them to ban the showing of Matilda.