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Russia's biggest movie theater chain says it won't show film about Nicholas II, citing fears of attacks by ‘opponents’

Russia’s biggest chain of movie theaters announced on Tuesday that it will not show Alexey Uchitel’s controversial new motion picture “Matilda,” an upcoming film about ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska and her relationship with Nicholas II before he became tsar, which Orthodox Christian activists have condemned as a sacrilegious affront.

“Cinema Park” and “Formula Kino” say the decision is based on “illegal actions by [the movie’s] opponents” and threats against theaters that agree to show the film.

Matilda, official trailer
Kino Guru

“The decision is connected solely to our wish to protect moviegoers from the risks associated with showing this film to the public,” the chain said in a statement.

Rambler News Service

On September 4, a truck rammed into a movie theater in Yekaterinburg, intentionally setting off a fire. The driver reportedly carried out the attack in response to the theater’s plans to show the film “Matilda,” which a movement of radical Russian Orthodox Christians virulently opposes.

After the attack, newspaper columnist Ekaterina Vinokurova filed a police report after receiving death threats in response to several op-eds criticizing State Duma deputy Natalia Poklonskaya’s opposition to “Matilda.” Vinokurova says the threats have come from “radical Russian Orthodox Christians,” whom Poklonskaya has rallied against the movie, believing that it constitutes sacrilege.

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