The film about the romance of the Russian emperor and the ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater caused heated controversy long before its premiere
In Russia, announced the start of filming the documentary “Lies of Matilda.” Documentary filmmaker Sergei Aliev said that he had this idea after watching the trailer for the film by Alexei Uchitel “Matilda”, which tells about the youthful romance of the Russian Tsarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich (future Emperor Nicholas II) and the ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya.
Filming for the “answer to the Teacher” will take place in Yekaterinburg, Moscow and St. Petersburg, the budget of the film is estimated at several million rubles, against the $ 25 million spent on “Matilda”, which is announced as “historical blockbuster of the year”.
According to Sergei Aliyev, the authors of the future film (the premiere of which is scheduled for the first half of September, that is, before the official premiere of “Matilda”), set themselves the task of debunking the “myths” about Nicholas II. Among these myths is his romance with the ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater.
Other myths include the weak character of the last Russian tsar, the validity of the nickname “Bloody” and the circumstances of his abdication.
Actors Alexei Nilov and Andrey Merzlikin, historians Pyotr Multatuli and Alexander Notin, as well as the State Duma deputy from United Russia Vitaly Milonov, known for his resonant bills, will be involved in the filming of Lies of Matilda..
Heightened interest in the upcoming film “Matilda” arose after State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya sent a request to the Prosecutor General’s Office to check the footage for possible offending the feelings of believers.
The fact is that both the emperor himself and members of his family, who were shot by the Bolsheviks in July 1918 in Yekaterinburg, by the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of August 14, 2000, were proclaimed passion-bearers in the host of new martyrs and confessors of Russia..
I like Malya (Kshesinskaya), and I love Alix ”. And this even before Alix gave her consent to the marriage.
In addition, several Russian public organizations of the monarchist and nationalist persuasion are calling for a ban on the film that has not yet been released, and in the event that it is released, for a boycott..
The most common accusations against the film “Matilda” are the distortion of the historical truth by its authors..
“It was necessary to read the diaries of the crown prince”
The correspondent of “Voice of America” asked for comments to the chief specialist of the State Archives of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Historical Sciences Zinaida Peregudova.
First of all, she noted that Nicholas II was “an extraordinary figure.” And that there are still many discussions about him as a statesman and his contribution to the development of Russia.
“But now the main controversy is around the royal remains – are they genuine or not? Examinations are being carried out and the question of burying the remains of Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna is being resolved. And on this issue, the main passions are seething. But, basically, this happens not in the scientific environment, but in the environment around the church, ”notes Zinaida Peregudova.
As for the work of Alexei Uchitel, Zinaida Peregudova admitted that she had not read his script, and can only judge on the basis of fragments of the film “Matilda” posted on the Internet.
In this regard, the expert believes that the director and screenwriter should carefully study the youthful diary of the future emperor. “And these diaries of the Tsarevich are very interesting, very complete, voluminous. And it was necessary to read them, like the correspondence of Nicholas II, it was also published.
In my opinion, this film claims that Nicholas had a great love for Matilda, and at the same time the emperor does not promise love for Alexandra Feodorovna. And if the authors of the film looked at the youthful diaries of the Tsarevich …
Everything should be document-based. Materials are open, please come and read
After all, he met Alix when he was sixteen and she was twelve. He always dreamed – and it goes on in his diaries – that Alix would be his wife. But there were difficulties – Emperor Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna did not give consent to this marriage, “- says the chief specialist of the State Archives of the Russian Federation.
And he continues: “In these diaries, in the early 90s, the Tsarevich writes:” I like Malya (Kshesinskaya), but I love Alix. ” And this even before Alix gave her consent to the marriage, “- Zinaida Peregudova draws attention..
“Poklonskaya was not in our archives”
Based on the diary entries of Tsarevich Nicholas, the historian agrees: “Yes, she (Kshesinskaya), he liked it, he was fascinated by her. And if you look at his diaries from 1891-92 – yes, they met, were close. But when the parents agreed that he made an offer to Alexandra Fedorovna, all relations (with Matilda Kshesinskaya – A.P.) were interrupted.
Everything should be based on documents. The materials are open, please come and read. Nikolai and Alexandra were happy, and if a film about this great and all-consuming love came out, it would be great, “Zinaida Peregudova believes..
And he mentions that in 1971 the film “Nikolai and Alexandra” was released in the United States, based on the book of the same name by Pulitzer Prize laureate, historian and biographer Robert Massey. In Russia, this film was shown on television in the 90s..
When asked by the Voice of America correspondent why the film Matilda is opposed not by professional historians, but by politicians and civil activists, Zinaida Peregudova throws up her hands: “I don’t know, in any case, Poklonskaya was not in our archives. But maybe she studied literature well. Although literature is now also sinning with implausibility. In addition, it happens that people study the same sources, but draw different conclusions, “- concludes the chief specialist of the State Archives of the Russian Federation Zinaida Peregudova.
Photo: Anna Plotnikova
By the way, interest in the personal life of the last Russian emperor did not arise now. Back in 1990, the Moscow publishing house “Interbook” published a book by a certain Maria Evgenieva “The Roman Tsarevich”. The annotation states that this book was first published back in 1917, and was “very popular”.
most of all, it was Pushkin who said most correctly: history belongs to the poet
Alt-J (∆) – Matilda
In this work, the author claims that the imperial court knew perfectly well that Matilda Kshesinskaya was Nikolai’s true love. But in every possible way he obstructed the development of their romance because of fears that Kshesinskaya would seek the independence of Poland. The last lines of “Roman Tsarevich” describe the scene of the wedding of Nicholas and “Princess Alice”: “Both were sad. Alice knew that Nikolai loved the other, that she was imposed on him as a wife. And Nikolai thought that now he must get used to an unwanted wife, live with her, have children without loving her. “.
The memoirs of Matilda Kshesinskaya were also published in Russia. Describing the wedding day of Nikolai and Alexandra, she notes: “I tried to stifle the oppressive feeling of jealousy in myself and look at the one that took my dear Nicky away from me, since she became his wife as the Empress.”.
“It is not the business of officials to determine the level of a work of art”
A film critic, candidate of art science spoke about the relationship between historical accuracy and speculation in a work of art in an interview with the Voice of America correspondent Yuri Bogomolov. He recalled the correspondence between Pushkin and Karamzin.
I know for sure that it is absurd when church hierarchs or simply “scary” believers begin to persecute the author of this film, regardless of whether they watched his work or not
“Karamzin argued that history belongs to the tsar. Decembrist Muravyov, by the way, believed that history belongs to the people. But it was Pushkin who said most accurately, most correctly: history belongs to the poet. Of course, not in the sense that a poet can lead historical processes. And in the sense that a poet, or, more broadly, an artist, a creator comprehends history more broadly.
Therefore, today’s considerations that history supposedly may belong to, say, the minister of culture, deputies or even the president are absolutely groundless. And such ideas about history are just a cave age! You need to listen to the artist, because he understands better than others where today’s reality is going, ”Yuri Bogomolov believes..
We do not want our culture to fall under the pressure of the new censorship, no matter what influential forces initiate it.
The film critic admits that he does not know how Alexey Uchitel’s film Matilda turned out, so he does not undertake to judge its artistic merits. “But I know for sure that it is absurd when church hierarchs or simply“ scary ”believers begin to persecute the author of this film, regardless of whether they watched his work or not. It is not their business and it is not the business of government and government officials to determine the level of a work of art, “he insists..
Bogomolov was among those members of the KinoSoyuz of Russia who signed an open letter in early February against the persecution of the creators of the film “Matilda”.
The letter contains the following lines: “We, filmmakers, especially of the older generation, are well aware of what censorship is, which for several decades of Soviet times crippled the lives of artists and hindered the development of art. We do not want our culture to fall under the pressure of the new censorship, no matter what influential forces initiate it “.
A keen interest in the film, which has not yet been released, is expressed not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg. At the beginning of this week it became known that the leadership of the Department of Culture of Novosibirsk proposed to Alexei Uchitel to organize the premiere of his new film in this city. By the way, until 1925 Novosibirsk bore the name Novo-Nikolaevsk.
Yuri Bogomolov believes that the excitement around a film that has not yet been released, and in particular the campaign for its ban or boycott, can against the will of the initiators of this campaign lead to the opposite effect and contribute to an increase in box office receipts. “People can just“ rush ”to this film, well, and let them rush. But I strongly suspect that obscurantists are trying to score points on this hype, who today felt the favor of the highest circles – both church and state, ”Yuri Bogomolov fears.