Poklonskaya’s struggle with Uchitel: new episodes of the scandal of ‘’false image’’ of Nicholas II and ‘’unattractive’’ Matilda
Film director Aleksey Uchitel's attorney has complained to the State Duma about ''unfounded accusations'' of the Deputy Natalia Poklonskaya. The deputy, an ardent opponent of the new film by Uchitel Matilda, says that the movie offends feelings of believers. The conflict stretches since last year, opinions have already been expressed by the Moscow Patriarchate, General Prosecutor, the Kremlin and now it's the turn of the Commission on deputy ethics. Realnoe Vremya has made the top 7 facts about the scandal.
''Royal cross'' complained to Poklonskaya
The first scandal around Matilda broke last autumn. Director Aleksey Uchitel started out to film the fate of the ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska and her relationships with the cesarewitch Nicholas, the future last Emperor of Russia.
However, activists of the ''Royal cross'' complained to Deputy of the State Duma Natalia Poklonskaya about anti-Russian and anti-religious provocation in the film:
''The bedroom scenes with a strange diva, which do not have historical evidence, are a desecration of the ''holy, canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church'', assured the movement's leaders, who were not confused that the film is still being shoot and not yet released. We will remind that Nicholas II was canonized in 2000.
The deputy immediately issued a deputy's request to law enforcement authorities, promising that if the facts were confirmed the movie would not be released. The director himself disputed this approach, he called the actions of the activists a stupidity and insanity. He reminded that ''nobody has seen the film'' so he called the discontented people to wait for the premiere.
However, already on 2 November Poklonskaya asked the Prosecutor General of Russia to verify the content of the film. The office of Yuri Chaika did not find violations in the presentation video of the film.
''We're not crazy: we haven't seen the film but we are against it!''
In December, the representatives of Orthodox clergy expressed their opinion about Matilda. The Moscow Patriarchate criticized the creator of the film for historical inaccuracy. The conclusions have been made based on the trailer of the film. The vice-rector of the Sretensky Monastery of Moscow, Bishop Egoryevsky Tikhon considered that the trailer would be enough to get an idea about the movie. ''After seeing it, I honestly couldn't understand why the authors did it this way? Why touch upon this topic this way?'' surprised the bishop, adding that it's not the author's vision but ''slander on real people''. Nevertheless, the priest said that the Church will not demand to ban the film.
At the same time, the Public Council at the Ministry of Culture of Russia offered to hold a private screening of Matilda to check whether the movie offends the feelings of believers.
''If the council's attitude is negative and we consider this film offends the feelings of believers, and so forth, then yes — this is the reason to ban. We may be play safe, but what prevents?'' said the chairman of the council Pavel Pozhigailo.
According to him, the Public Council received a petition demanding to ban the release of the film by Uchitel. We are talking about the petition, under which 10,000 people signed for the ban. ''These are normal people, that is, not marginals, not some city crazy people. They haven't seen the movie, it has not been released yet, but they already brought signatures,'' said Pozhigailo. A month later the Council received 20,000 signatures demanding to ban the movie. According to the head of the structure, most of the protesters are Orthodox believers.
''Russia is represented in the film as the country of gallows, drunkenness and fornication''
In late January, Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee for security and combating corruption Natalia Poklonskaya sent another request to the Prosecutor General to check the legality of spending budget money allocated for the creation of the film by Aleksey Uchitel Matilda. The deputy insisted that the film must be checked by a commission of experts consisting from professional historians and representatives of the Church.
''Russia is represented in the film as the country of gallows, drunkenness and fornication. It is impossible to allow a mass distribution of the film, which is a conscious ahistorical falsification, designed to discredit, insult and slander some of the most venerated saints of our Church — the Tsar Martyr Nicholas II and His Family members,'' said Poklonskaya.
The deputy also added that she received many calls from opponents of the film. People, she said, angered that the role of the Russian Emperor in the film by Uchitel was played by actor Lars Eidinger, who starred in porn.
Experts: ''false image of Nicholas II as inadequate and morally corrupt person''
In recent days, the scandal has received a new round of development. Natalia Poklonskaya sent to the Prosecutor General ''proof'' that the film offends the feelings of believers – it is the results of the expert evaluation of Matilda. Experts, according to her, have watched the trailers and the published script of the film.
''The Commission concludes that in the film Matilda the image of the canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Russian Emperor Nicholas II cannot offend the religious feelings and do not humiliate the human dignity of a considerable part of Orthodox Christians,'' the deputy read the conclusions of the experts.
''The film is aimed at forming the false image of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II as inadequate and morally corrupt person,'' stated in the results of the expert evaluation.
The commission also found in the film ''manipulative techniques'': the substitution of facts by opinions, which is artistic fiction, labelling, as well as ''combination of religious high-valued with vulgar sexual''. Experts believe that it provides the viewer with ''the false impression of the reality of the image, not really relevant to historical reality''. The conclusion of the experts is harsh: due to ''high degree of level of provocation'' the film cannot be shown to the public. Poklonskaya did not mention the names of experts included in the commission.
The Kremlin: ''It is at least strange to evaluate a film that is not ready yet''
On 17 April, Press Secretary of the President of Russia also spoke about the notorious film by Uchitel. Dmitry Peskov stated that he could not comment on the results of the evaluation.
''The thing is that the film Matilda is not ready yet, if I correctly understand the situation. To evaluate a film that is not yet ready is at least strange,'' said Peskov.
In the opinion of the representative of the Kremlin, ''experts are not created equal''.
''I don't know whether there are such experts who can give such opinions on the conformity of an image to the canonized image. This is a very difficult question, we don't know who these experts are and under what authority they have come to this conclusion,'' said Press Secretary of Vladimir Putin.
Aleksey Uchitel: ''I am ashamed and sad for the experts!''
In those days, the filmmaker commented on the scandal surrounding yet unreleased film Matilda. According to him, he was ''ashamed and bitter'' for the experts who gave the assessment to the film.
''To be honest, I'm tired of war with Madam Poklonskaya with me and the whole crew of the film. Instead of calmly finishing the film, I have to be distracted by nonsense and insults,'' said Aleksey Uchitel.
In his opinion, the so-called ''experts'' themselves manipulated ''people who have not seen the film''. Uchitel noted that it would be worthwhile to carry out an evaluation who assessed Matilda by ''psychiatric'' professionals.
Another well-known Russian film director Karen Shakhnazarov called the opposition of Poklonskaya and the creators of the film a free promotion of Matilda. Another 50 filmmakers supported his words.
Rat Matilda and the Commission on deputy ethics
A fragment of the expert opinion on the movie Matilda has recently appeared in the social networks. The full document is published on the website of the opponent of the movie — the Deputy of the State Duma. In it, the press has found one more interesting detail that characterizes the ''experts'' of Polonskaya.
Experts spoke about the image of the ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska calling the baller dancer ''unattractive'' (from the point of view of classical European and, in particular, Russian ideas of female beauty) in appearance and other physique'' and compared her with a ''rat'':
''On the known her photos there are clearly visible: protruding crooked teeth, outstretched form of the face making her similar in appearance to a mouse or rat, awkward figure.'' But in the movie of Uchitel there plays the ''actress with a satisfactory appearance'', but this, according to experts, does not matter.
Finally tired of the interference in the creation of the film, the filmmakers have taken a step back. The Director's attorney Konstantin Dobrynin complained about the actions of Poklonskaya to the Commission on deputy ethics of the State Duma. The attorney called the accusations of the deputy ''unfounded'' and accused her of ''knowingly using false information and incitement to unlawful actions'' against the creators of the film Matilda.