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Putin has not seen Matilda film yet, but looks forward to its release

The Kremlin spokesman said there were no plans for the president’s meeting with the film’s authors for the time being

MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. The Kremlin is looking forward to the release of the historical drama Matilda but there are no plans for Putin’s meeting with the authors, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in reply to a question from TASS.

"The president has not seen the film yet. It is about to be released soon. We are looking forward to the day. The film is a much-advertised one," Peskov said, adding that there were no plans for the president’s meeting with the film’s authors for the time being.

Peskov said he had not seen the film himself yet, either.

"I’m waiting. I’ll go to see it as soon as it hits the screen," Peskov said.

Matilda controversy

The row over the film Matilda, scheduled to be released October 26 followed a dispute between the film’s director, Aleksey Uchitel, and State Duma member Natalya Poklonskaya, who argues that the film insults the memory of Emperor Nicholas II and the feelings of believers. Uchitel has dismissed as impermissible Poklonskaya’s attempts to intervene with artistic matters and the film’s distribution. On September 12 two networks of distributors made a decision against screening Matilda for fear of spectators’ safety. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky slammed any attempts to put pressure on cinema theaters as censorship and arbitrariness.

He recalled that the Ministry of Culture issued distribution and screening certificates in strict compliance with the established procedures. The law clearly described the reasons for which certification might be denied. None of them was applicable to Matilda. The certificate is a federal license for showing the film at any place in Russia’s territory.

The State Duma’s committee on culture is about to issue a special statement on the affair. Its chairman, film director Stanislav Govorukhin believes that "all obscurant forces have sprung into action" over the yet-to-be released film.

State Duma members Oksana Pushkina and Irina Rodnina on September 13 asked FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov and Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev to probe into the activities of the unregistered religious association Christian State - Holy Rus in connection with threats addressed to film director Aleksei Uchitel and the campaign against his film.

The Interior Ministry has promised the police would tighten security at cinema theaters where Matilda will be showing if there is evidence of likely provocations.