Matilda the Musical – The Russian Scene
The authorities of the three republics of the North Caucasus do not want to let the film into their territory
MOSCOW – The Ministry of Culture of Russia issued a distribution certificate for the film directed by Alexei Uchitel “Matilda” for screening throughout the country. Vyacheslav Telnov, director of the cinematography department of the Russian Ministry of Culture, announced this at a briefing in Moscow on Thursday: “We have issued a distribution license for the entire territory of Russia, there are film distribution companies operating in each territory, which are shown in the regions”.
Telnov’s commentary was unexpected for those who followed the latest events around the not yet published historical melodrama about the romance of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II and the ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya – the official made it clear that his department did not intend to limit the picture in any way: “The Ministry of Culture refrains from religious and ideological ratings. We suggest waiting for the premiere – let the viewer appreciate the picture..
At the same time, commenting on the recent statements of the authorities of Chechnya and Dagestan that the screening of Matilda is undesirable in the territories of these republics, Vyacheslav Telnov expressed a compromise: of this or that movie “.
The film “Matilda”, shot by the famous Russian director Alexei Uchitel, has become the object of criticism of Russian monarchist organizations since the end of 2016, and later, at their request, by the deputy of the State Duma Natalia Poklonskaya. The monarchists held prayers to ban the film, collected signatures on petitions demanding not to show the picture and punish its creator, and some of them threatened cinemas with violence if the film was shown..
Natalia Poklonskaya is known for her, as many of her critics note, hypertrophied sympathy for the image of Nicholas II: she appeared on a march dedicated to the memory of those who fought in World War II, with an icon depicting the tsar killed by the Bolsheviks, and also announced that the bust of the tsar in Crimea “pacified”.
After the news of the issuance of a rental certificate to Matilda, Poklonskaya told reporters that this was done by the Ministry of Culture of Russia with violations: “Maybe the Ministry of Culture has been brought to such a boiling state that it was able to issue a rental certificate in violation of the issuing procedure in spite of everything … Discussions there was no such decision before the adoption of this decision at the public council under the Ministry of Culture – this is a violation of the regulations “.
The deputy expressed a desire to continue to fight for the film by Alexei Uchitel to be watched by as few viewers as possible. “Every person who respects and understands what dignity, honor is, what it means to be proud of your history, great centuries-old beautiful amazing, what is faith, what is a shrine – they will not look at such nasty things,” Poklonskaya told Interfax.
Three republics of the Russian North Caucasus, according to the latest data, will refuse to show “Matilda”: these are Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. In Chechnya and Dagestan, the film was criticized at the level of the leadership of the republics, and in Ingushetia, as reported by Interfax, the film was refused to be shown by the only distribution company of this federal subject..
These conservative forces, having united in a strange alliance of Poklonskaya, Kadyrov, Orthodox bikers, all together took up arms against this film, which under other circumstances, of course, they might not even have noticed
The leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, after the decision of the Russian Ministry of Culture to issue a distribution certificate for the film by Alexei Uchitel, wrote on his Instagram page: “There will be no ban! Do you know why? Very simple! In Chechnya, anyway, they will not waste time watching a film that is immoral, spiritless and immoral in relation to their homeland. I am sure that the film will not find a viewer in other regions either. “.
A strange alliance of conservative forces against “Matilda”
Editor-in-chief of the magazine “Cinema Art” Anton Dolin in an interview with the Voice of America, he insists that there is no special conspiracy against the film Matilda – he just turned up on the arm: “The situation is simpler than many people think, no conspiracy scenarios here correspond to reality. This is simply a “snowball” situation, when a target is chosen in accordance with the main trend that exists in Russian society now, a conservative trend, a trend to protect some abstract values that are allegedly being attacked, at the signal given by Mrs. Poklonskaya. It seems to people that the situation “I have not read Pasternak, but I condemn” is some kind of anecdotal, everything is in the past, but there are many who like it, who boast that they are capable of condemning someone, prohibiting something, not reading, without even feeling the need to familiarize yourself with the subject of condemnation “.
The teacher is not a politician, much less an opposition politician. And his film, which he does not tire of repeating, is not an opposition statement.
“These conservative forces, having united in a strange alliance of Poklonskaya, Kadyrov, Orthodox bikers, all together took up arms against this film, which under other circumstances, of course, they might not even have noticed. It is easy not to notice that such a film has been made and that it exists. Of course, all those who have said many times that there were films that were much more seditious from the point of view of the history of the royal family are right. And no one has ever opposed “- admits the expert.
Regarding the reaction of the leaders of the republics of the Russian Caucasus to “Matilda”, in particular, the President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, after whose comments the film is unlikely to be shown in this republic, Anton Dolin says that this is typical behavior of leaders who understand that their opinion is an order for subordinates: “If you follow the Instagram records of the same Kadyrov, then we see that there has long been confusion, where is a private person with his own opinions, and where is the opinion of an official. Kadyrov clearly sees no difference here. For many years, in fact, he denies it, this difference. And we see another situation when the boss said something evaluative, not based on anything, and since he is the boss, it is immediately perceived as a law passed by someone. “.
The authorities believe that culture should support the main trends set by the authorities. You can find any picture for the pursuit – remember what terrible things happened to Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan”
The editor-in-chief of the Art Cinema magazine notes that Aleksey Uchitel is not persecuted for being an opposition: “The teacher is not a politician, much less an opposition politician. And his film, which he does not tire of repeating, is not an opposition statement. This is not some kind of “liberal propaganda” that is going to destroy the bright image of Tsar Nicholas. It’s not even close. He’s just a director who tells, as I understand it, a beautiful romantic story – the story of love. “.
Liya Akhedzhakova: authorities show that art can be given a hand
The popular actress of Russian theater and cinema, People’s Artist of Russia Liya Akhedzhakova, in an interview with the Voice of America, was outraged by the fact that Natalia Poklonskaya actually led the campaign to ban the film from censorship: Was she capable of persecution in that status? You can be a monarchist as much as you like, but here real doubts arise about her mental health – especially after her statements about the myrrh-streaming of the tsar’s bust. Now Poklonskaya is literally carrying out a gangster attack on culture “.
At the same time, the actress believes that the Russian authorities, without openly condemning the actions of Poklonskaya, are sending a signal to the creative community of Russia: “Her behavior of the authorities is actually beneficial, because through her they make it clear that they can give a hand to literally everyone – any picture, any performance , any director, just look at what they are doing now with director Kirill Serebrennikov, whose passport was taken away. He is a talent, he is given international prizes one after another, and the authorities persecute him and mock him demonstratively. “.
“The authorities believe that culture should support the main trends set by the authorities. You can find any picture for the pursuit – remember what terrible things happened to Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan. You can start hunting for any painting, and Chechnya and Dagestan will only support such a hunt. Alexey Uchitel is not a small person in our cinema, but he is also a teacher, and he has many big pictures, but they show that he can be given a hand, ”says Liya Akhedzhakova.
Reporter for the Russian Voice of America Service in Moscow. Collaborates with Voice of America since 2012. For a long time he worked as a correspondent and host of programs for the BBC Russian Service and Radio Liberty. Specialization – international relations, politics and legislation, human rights.
I will follow