Russia’s leading cinema chain will not screen a controversial film on Tsar Nicholas ’s affair with a Polish ballerina after receiving religiously motivated threats to its theaters, the chain told Interfax news agency Tuesday.
A vigilante group called “Christian State — Holy Russia” sent letters to dozens of cinema managers in February, saying “cinemas would, burn, maybe people will even suffer” if “Mathilde” was shown.
“The leadership of the united network ‘Cinema Park’ and ‘Formula Kino’ decided not to screen the picture,” the chain told Interfax in a statement, citing “frequent threats to theaters.”
It also pointed to several “unlawful actions” that opponents of director Alexei Uchitel’s biopic carried out in recent days in a number of Russian cities.
Two cars outside Uchitel’s lawyer’s office in central Moscow were set on fire on Monday in an apparent act of intimidation ahead of the film’s general release in late October.
Russia’s National Film Foundation later that day canceled the film’s screening to meet an Oscars consideration deadline “due to technical reasons.”