Russia seeks to calm tensions over czar love affair film

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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

(AP) Russia's Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has sought to downplay the "hysteria" surrounding a new film depicting the love affair between Russia's last czar and a ballerina.

Medinsky wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that "Matilda" was just "an ordinary feature film."

Russia's largest cinema chain announced on Tuesday that it would not show the movie because of safety fears.

Two cars were set on fire earlier this week outside the office of the attorney for director Alexei Uchitel, and assailants tried to set fire to Uchitel's studio last month.

The movie has sparked harsh criticism from hard-line nationalists and some Orthodox believers. Nicholas II, whose execution in 1918 saw the end of the Russian monarchy, was canonized by the Orthodox Church in 2000.

Matilda will premiere in Russia on Oct. 26.