After our discussion yesterday on the Nazis’ use of film as propaganda and censorship of the arts, an article published on BBC World caught my eye this morning. A Russian film set to be released in October titled Matilda, about the life and death of the last tsar, has come under criticism not from the Russian government, but from the Orthodox church. Because Nicolas II and his family were canonized in 2000, the church and its more radical followers think the film is distasteful and rude. They have protested numerous other artistic exhibitions and productions based on their beliefs as well, but the interesting part of this movie in particular is that is was produced in part with government funding. Because government resources have been used to create this film, should it have to protect all denominations? Additionally, how much freedom does art have? Is there a certain point where art and forms of expression should be illegal as to protect the rights of all? How can art infringe on personal rights?
Personally, because Nicolas II was a real person before being canonized, I do not have an issue with a movie on his life. However, I am not of the Orthodox religion and therefore have a limited scope in which to contextualize my personal reaction. However, if people disagree with the movie or what it portrays, I would hope they would just not see it themselves. That being said, I would not necessarily want my tax dollars endorsing and producing an offensive movie to a particular group or religion, so that does make the case more complicated for Russian officials. I am interested to see if the movie is released in October as scheduled, and if so, I intend to see it and follow up on Russia’s reception of it.