Matilda (2017 film)

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Matilda (2017 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlexey Uchitel
Produced by
Screenplay byAlexandr Terehov
Music byMarco Beltrami
CinematographyYuriy Klimenko
Release date
  • October 26, 2017 (2017-10-26)
Budget$25 million

Matilda (Russian: Матильда) is а 2017 Russian historical romantic drama film directed by Alexey Uchitel. It was released in cinemas on October 26, 2017.[1] The picture tells the story about the relationship between ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya and Nicholas II.

The planned release of the film has become the subject of a public conflict that has started since November 2016.[2] Elements of the conflict include fierce controversy, attempts to ban the film, threats to film distributors and arson.

The premiere of the film took place on October 23, 2017 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.


The film tells the story of the romantic relationship between the heir to the Russian throne, Nikolay Romanov, and the ballerina of the Imperial Theater, Matilda Kshesinskaya, from the time the 22-year-old crown prince and 18-year-old dancer met in 1890 to the coronation of Nikolay and his wife Aleksandra Fedorovna in 1896.



The film received mixed reviews in Russian media.[3] Yury Grymov and Stas Tyrkin from Komsomolskaya Pravda differed in their opinion; Grymow criticized the film, citing the muddled nature of the picture,[4] while Tyrkin gave a positive review.[5]

Egor Belikov from Time Out and Andrey Piskov from The Hollywood Reporter described the film as an overblown melodrama.[6][7]

Meduza's Anton Dolin praised the film; he complimented the fairy-tale like atmosphere, cinematography, sets and costumes.[8]


In 2016 when the official trailer of the film which contained in particular erotic love scenes was released,[9] representatives of the public movement "King's Cross" found in the upcoming film a "distortion of historical events", and an "anti-Russian and anti-religious provocation in the field of culture". One cinema chain pulled out of showing the film after a group of self-described Orthodox militants threatened the film’s director and cinemas preparing to screen it.[10]

After a request to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation State from the Duma deputy Natalia Poklonskaya known for her veneration of Nicholas II,[11] the film's material was audited and no violations were found.[12] Chairman of the Duma committee on culture, film director Stanislav Govoruhin criticized the idea of checking the film, he expressed confidence that such scandalous initiatives should be "nipped right in the bud." In the Kremlin, Poklonskaya’s request caused confusion and an uncertain delayed response. The Ministry of Culture of Russia said that the question of issuing certificates for rental of the film will be decided upon the completion of work on the picture.[13][12][14][15]

Somewhat later in December 2016 it was reported that the prosecutor's office will request the movie's script for inspection at the request of deputy Poklonskaya.[16][17]

In September 2017 Cinema Park and Formula Kino group, the Russia's biggest cinema chain, cancelled screenings of the film due to "extreme actions by opponents of the film" and threats made against cinemas. They later reversed the decision.[18] Two cars were torched outside the Moscow office of a lawyer acting for Alexey Uchitel, the director of the film.[19]

Attempts of a ban[edit]

Director of the office of the Russian Imperial House, Aleksandr Zakatov called the film "blasphemy", but added that "such works should be condemned, but to inflate a scandal around them and make a formal ban does not make sense".[20] A similar position was taken by the Bishop of Egoryevsk Tihon (Shevkunov), who reviewed the film highly critically, but said that the demand to ban the film - "is an absolutely dead-end and wrong approach":[21][22]

... An admonition regarding right and wrong – this is the goal that can and must be put in connection with the forthcoming wide screening of the film.

Nevertheless, Bishop Tihon pointed out, "most likely, individuals and groups, including Orthodox, will demand its prohibition".[23]


More than 17 tons of fabric were used to create a total of more than 5,000 costumes.[24]


  1. ^ "Фильм "Матильда" и общественная реакция на него. Досье". TASS.
  2. ^ "Дело "Матильды": как фильм Учителя стал самым скандальным в России". RBC Information Systems.
  3. ^ "Матильда". Kritikanstvo.
  4. ^ "В фильме "Матильда" НЕТ царя". Komsomolskaya Pravda.
  5. ^ ""Матильды" чистый дух тебя зовет!". Komsomolskaya Pravda.
  6. ^ Egor Belikov. ""Матильда" после шума и Поклонской: стоит ли ее вообще смотреть?". Time Out.
  7. ^ "Рецензия: "Матильда" Алексея Учителя". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ "Матильда» Алексея Учителя: о чем на самом деле этот фильм?". Meduza.
  9. ^ Official trailer of the film Matilda. Mystery of the House of Romanov (2016).
  10. ^ "In Latin America and Russia, the spiritual status of the slain is a minefield". The Economist. September 17, 2017.
  11. ^ "Поклонская попросила Генпрокуратуру проверить новый фильм Учителя "Матильда"" [Poklonskaya asked the Prosecutor General to audit the new movie "Matilda" by Uchitel]. Vedomosti (in Russian). November 2, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Минкульт прокомментировал просьбу Поклонской проверить фильм "Матильда"" [Ministry of Culture commented on Poklonskaya's request to inspect the film "Matilda"]. RBC Information Systems (in Russian). November 2, 2016.
  13. ^ Bondarenko, Maria (November 3, 2016). "Говорухин раскритиковал идею проверки фильма Алексея Учителя" [Govoruhin criticized the idea of inspecting the film by Alexey Utchitel]. RBC Information Systems (in Russian). Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  14. ^ ""Царь представлен в ложном, пошлом, негативном виде"" ["The czar is presented in a false, vulgar and negative form"]. (in Russian). June 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Вновь ввергнуть Россию в кровавый хаос - цель создателей фильма "Матильда" и их покровителей" [To again plunge Russia into a bloody chaos is the purpose of the film "Matilda" and its patrons]. Cont (in Russian). June 16, 2016.
  16. ^ "Прокуратура запросит сценарий фильма "Матильда", сообщила Поклонская" [The prosecutor's office will ask for the script of the film "Matilda," Poklonskaya reported]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). December 12, 2016.
  17. ^ "Н.Поклонская: Прокуратура запросит сценарий фильма "Матильда"" [N.Poklonskaya: The prosecutor's office will ask for the script of the film "Matilda"]. Монархистъ (in Russian).
  18. ^ "'Matilda' premiere draws extra security in Moscow after threats". Digital Journal.
  19. ^ "Russian cinemas shun czar film Matilda after threats". BBC. September 12, 2017.
  20. ^ "А.Закатов: Фильм "Матильда" является кощунством" [A.Zakatov "Matilda" The film is a sacrilege]. Monarchist (in Russian). November 2, 2016.
  21. ^ "Фильм Учителя "Матильда" построен на фальсификациях, считают в Русской церкви" [The film 'Matilda' by Uchitel is based on falsifications, according to the Russian Church]. Interfax-Religion (in Russian). December 14, 2016.
  22. ^ "Controversial film about Russian czar cleared for release". Business Insider. August 10, 2017.
  23. ^ Yakovleva, Elena (December 14, 2016). "РОССИЙСКАЯ ГАЗЕТА: "Вымысел и обман. Епископ Тихон Шевкунов: Мы в ответе за историческую правду о своей стране"" [Russian Gazette: "Fiction and deception. Bishop Tihon Shevkunov: "We are responsible for the historical truth about our country"]. Interfax-Religion (in Russian).
  24. ^ "Матильда, 2017". (in Russian). Retrieved September 22, 2017.

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