Review of Matilda: fouetté under factoids

The most discussed film of the year — Matilda — was finally screened to a wide audience. One thing can be said definitely: the film crew have to say thank to Natalia Poklonskaya for a great PR campaign. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

She doesn't burn or sink

The excavated from oblivion story of relations between future Russian Emperor Nicholas and ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya, which never was a secret, and not especially interesting as well, for some strange reason attracted the attention of film director Alexey Uchitel. In fact, it has nothing amazing, it doesn't really matter that he had (before the marriage!) relations, and as you know, a large number of representatives of the male half of the Romanov dynasty was known as 'balletomanes'. Cute antics of the Imperial house, nothing more.

It is difficult to establish with precision now what and how it really was, and it is not really necessary at all. So, when they were writing the script for the film Matilda, the fantasy of the creators obviously worked wildly. The artist has the right to fantasy, and generalization, after all. The question is: what for?

Beautiful interiors, quite decent costumes, great closeups and depressing superficiality. Everything is neat and tidy, even the episode of the train crash, even the Khodynka — well, everything was 'just beautifully done'. I have the feeling that the film was made somewhere on another continent, where the ideas about Russia are following: vodka, shuba, gypsy dance in the pub, lozhki-matryoshki, and bears on the street. By the way, a bear yet appeared in the film.

What about the genre? Well, romance, of course. With tears, picturesquely coming up in the eyes, with the fatal mysterious lovers, with exaggerated passion. And love? Well, there is no love. There is reflexive Nicholas and very active ballet dancer. With such great activity, like Kshesinskaia has in the film, it would be better to learn how to perform thirty-two fouettés, but she doesn't succeed.

Beautiful interiors, quite decent costumes, great closeups and depressing superficiality. Photo:

How many things the screenwriter came up with in the story with Matilda! Her meeting with future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, dying from jealousy, her presence at the birthday of the heir to the throne, the fact that this relations were approved by Emperor Alexander, and even a scene of the assassination attempt on her, when the ferry by which she escapes is on fire, then explodes, but the fire does not burn Matilda, as well as she doesn't sink in water.

The whole this story is covered with a touch of mysticism. During the coronation, the crown falls from the hands of future Emperor Nicholas II. Well, obviously, the Empire is lost. Empress Maria Feodorovna trying on the head of future daughter-in-law Empress Alexandra the crown and wound it with a pin so that a trickle of blood runs down her forehead. A crown of thorns for Alexandra Feodorovna ahead — everything is clear. The whole film is in that spirit. The number of trivial moves is through the roof. The feeling that the film was directed by a foreigner for whom the main thing — to show everything in luxurious interiors, and Russia and its history for him is no closer than the Andromeda galaxy, increases with each episode.

The most striking is that when you watch all this fiction, you don't want to 'shed tears' on the advice of Pushkin. Everything is so quite transparent, everything is so not about Russia and about tragic history of the country and its monarch so that there is only one desire arises — to shrug the shoulders.

The finale of Matilda is disappointingly tasteless. The Emperor arrives at the Khodynka (actually he, as historians say, was dancing at the ball at that moment), where picturesquely there are scattered dead bodies, climbs onto the platform, kneels and makes the sign of the cross. At that moment from some awkward movements there fly up fireworks in the black sky. He stands in the glow of these coloured lights.

Uchitel managed to gather in the film good actors — Yevgeny Mironov, Sergei Garmash, Danila Kozlovsky, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Lars Aidinger, Luiza Volfram, Mikhalina Olshanska. But the advantages are over on this — actors have nothing to play. Particularly unlucky were Mironov and Kozlovsky, whom you sincerely sympathize with, in a slightly more advantageous situation there was Dapkunaite. As for the main character — cute, pretty, proving the lines of Alexander Pushkin that ''there is no queen more beautiful that the Polish girl, she is cheerful like a kitten near the oven''. Then — silence.

The actors have nothing to play. In a slightly more advantageous situation there was Dapkunaite. Photo:

Poklonskaya ought to be invented anyway

If Natalia Polonskaya did not exist, Alexey Uchitel should have invented her anyway. Forty-three complaints — it is the PR campaigh held be the former prosecutor! It is strange that until now no one thought of conspiracy theories about a conspiracy of Polonskaya and Uchitel to promote the film.

If there was no Poklonskaya, Matilda would have passed unnoticed because the film has no love story, no history destroying all that is human in man power, nor the history of Russia. But it contains 'good' factoids, filmed in beautiful settings.

It is difficult to understand how this film offends the Tsar-Martyr. What was between him and Mathilde Kschessinska was before the wedding with Alix of Hesse. Besides, there is a scene in the film, the anointed of God says that God is in control, and he's happy. Happy with the wife, which corresponds to the historical truth. Anyone who has read the letters of the Emperor and Empress to each other, and they are published, knows it. So, there was no adultery, the Russian Emperor is clean in the film. But the agitated part of our society continues to look for a black cat in a dark room, although the cat is not there at all.

However, is it really only Poklonskaya who stood up for the tsar? It turned out, she had a forerunner — 'Orthodox Stalinist', Archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church Georgy Gorodentsev, he was recently quoted by the portal Kredo. The 'Orthodox Stalinist' warned her against watching not only the film but also the trailer, calling the views ''a ritual murder of the Tsar-Martyr and his Family'. If you follow this logic, it is strange that there is no requirements to burn the film crew on a fire yet. And it's all because of the bad film.

If Natalia Polonskaya did not exist, Alexey Uchitel should have invented her anyway. Photo:

Having watched Matilda in a half-empty cinema hall during a matinee, I didn't feel an insulting of religious feelings. Offended aesthetic feeling because of hypocrisy and ugliness of what was happening on the screen dominated. But that's another story.

By Tatyana Mamaeva