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Russian Culture Ministry recommends delaying screenings of film on clerical sexual abuse until after Orthodox Easter
François Ozon’s Grâce à Dieu (By the Grace of God) won the Jury Grand Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. However, because it depicts a court battle between Catholic priests and victims of sexual abuse, the film’s distributor told Meduza, Russia’s Culture Ministry has requested that screenings be delayed until after Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter.
The distributor, A-One Films, reported that while an agreement to screen the film had not yet been signed, the company was certain enough of an April 25 start date that some theaters had already screened the movie this morning. However, the company explained to Meduza that Culture Ministry representatives had made “spoken recommendations” to delay the film until April 29. The Ministry has not yet commented on the matter.
This is hardly the first time the Ministry has delayed a film for culturally charged reasons. In 2018, the British comedy The Death of Stalin was delayed for several months due to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad; its certification for screening in Russia was later canceled. The distributors of Avengers: Endgame asked to begin screening the film on April 25, but that date has reportedly been pushed to April 29 to clear space for a Russian-made action film.
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