Alexei Uchitel’s Matilda, which depicts affair between Nicholas II and ballet dancer, has faced calls for ban from religious and conservative critics

The Russian culture ministry has cleared a film depicting a love affair between Russia’s last tsar and a ballerina for nationwide release, despite protests from conservative critics who have demanded it be banned.

Matilda, made by prominent Russian director Alexei Uchitel, tells the story of a love affair between the young Nicholas and a half-Polish ballet dancer, Matilda Kshesinskaya. Trailers show romantic scenes between the prince and the ballerina. Conservative and religious critics deny the affair ever took place and say the film is an insult to the memory of Nicholas, who was canonised by the Russian Orthodox church in 2000.

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