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Biopic of Matilda Kshesinskaya

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NYT article about upcoming biopic of Matilda Kshesinskaya and her relationships with the nobility of the era,  Bared Breast Enthralls a Future Czar, and Stokes a Russian Culture War. The reactions the films is provoking may prove to be more interesting than the picture. There's no hint of how much, or what, dance content was filmed.  Does anybody know anything more about this filn?

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Nothing concrete, but I was in St Petersburg a short while ago and revisited both Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo palaces and Tsarskoe Selo /Pushkin (also known as Catherine Palace) had an exhibition of the costumes from this film, as well as many beautiful stills from it.  The film is called Mathilde.  The costumes and hats were sumptuous and the photographs and videos also beautiful.  But interesting that they did not choose a Mariinsky or Bolshoi dancer for the dancing parts, although they did use the actual Mariinsky stage and yes, there is dance content, since they showed a short video clip with ballerina dancing, but I don't know how much there will be in the entire film.  Looks very spectacular anyway as obviously it has beautiful locations, being filmed in Tsarskoe Selo and other locations in and around St Petersburg! 

Edited by MadameP

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I cannot wait for this. Three cheers to Tsarist Imperial splendor...wardrobe malfunctions and all! I can see how the church would freak out. They condemn any depiction of the "Holy Martyr Saints" (Tsar Nicholas II and his immediate family) in drama, film, etc...but...even saints were once human. :)

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5 hours ago, Natalia said:

I cannot wait for this. Three cheers to Tsarist Imperial splendor...wardrobe malfunctions and all! I can see how the church would freak out. They condemn any depiction of the "Holy Martyr Saints" (Tsar Nicholas II and his immediate family) in drama, film, etc...but...even saints were once human. :)

 

Pfui. Nicholas and Alexandra are saints and I am Marie of Romania. Looking forward to the movie, though.

 

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I'm finding the suggestion that Mathilde was too "ugly" to have been Nicholas's mistress strange.

 

She wasn't a great beauty but pictures of her do suggest a very vivacious, pleasant looking woman:

 

3a9c03eaef8fcd1c5dbd18adb3dd22ea.jpg

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

 

Pfui. Nicholas and Alexandra are saints and I am Marie of Romania. Looking forward to the movie, though.

 

 

And I'm Mad King Ludwig - you should come to my palace, we're having a party.

 

"My aunt warned me that under no circumstances should I ever accept an invitation to Kchessinskaya's palace, because it was not considered nice. Girls went there to pick up a protector or to be in vogue with the men."

—Alexandra Danilova

"Mathilda Kshessinskaya one night wore her own costume, disregarding the express wish of [director] Prince Volkonsky that she should put on that designed for the part. She was fined the next day. She took it ill and obtained an order from the Minister of the Court cancelling the fine. Prince Volkonsky immediately sent in his resignation. He was much and justly liked, and society resented the slight on one of its members. Hostile manifestations towards Mathilda took place in the theatre; she paid dearly for her short triumph. As an artist she was then at the best of her wonderful personality. Her virtuosity was not inferior to Legnau's, while her qualities as an actress were supreme."

"Should anybody try to harm you, come straight to me. I will speak for you, she said to me later. She was as good as her word. Later, there arose an occasion for her to intervene on my behalf…"

—Tamara Karsavina

 

Kind of ironic that goody two shoes Karsavina spent lots of time with Kshessinskaya, but the younger Danilova, who was often getting herself into trouble with theatre staff, stayed away from Kshessinskaya's bad influence.

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31 minutes ago, pherank said:

 

And I'm Mad King Ludwig -

 

 

...and I'm Karl Marx...

 

But strictly speaking, the Russian Orthodox church canonized Nicholas and Alexandra, so in the Russian Orthodox Church they are saints.

 

49 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I'm finding the suggestion that Mathilde was too "ugly" to have been Nicholas's mistress strange.

 

She wasn't a great beauty but pictures of her do suggest a very vivacious, pleasant looking woman:

 

3a9c03eaef8fcd1c5dbd18adb3dd22ea.jpg

 

I completely agree, and am glad you are reminding us. But I don't think there is much point in trying to make rational counter-arguments to people who would even raise the issue as their views are so disturbing from so many different points of view (for one:  if she were, by some standard, "ugly"? So what?)...

 

As for the movie--Like dirac I'm looking forward to it!

Edited by Drew

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

 

...and I'm Karl Marx...

 

But strictly speaking, the Russian Orthodox church canonized Nicholas and Alexandra, so in the Russian Orthodox Church they are saints.

 

 

Somewhere around here I've got a copy of "A Saint A Day," with a fascinating list of saints and their attributes.  Including the patron saint of television.

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Quote

 

But strictly speaking, the Russian Orthodox church canonized Nicholas and Alexandra, so in the Russian Orthodox Church they are saints.


 

 

True, Drew. I didn't mean to deny that technically, they are saints. 

 

Quote

I'm finding the suggestion that Mathilde was too "ugly" to have been Nicholas's mistress strange.

 

That's not the only strange conclusion presented in this article,canbelto, so in this case I think you have to consider the source.

 

Bishop Hilarion may be on to something, however, when he claims the affair was no more than youthful infatuation. Whatever the director may think and Kschessinskaya hinted, all evidence suggests that Nicholas was blissfully in love with his Alix.

 

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He was in love with Alix, but Alix was also neurotic, high-maintenance, moody, prone to depression, and anti-social. So I've no doubt that Nicholas being in the position he was in thought it acceptable and even appropriate to take a mistress who was vivacious, charming and a known party animal. 

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19 minutes ago, canbelto said:

He was in love with Alix, but Alix was also neurotic, high-maintenance, moody, prone to depression, and anti-social. So I've no doubt that Nicholas being in the position he was in thought it acceptable and even appropriate to take a mistress who was vivacious, charming and a known party animal. 

 

I've always read Nicholas gave her up when he married. Is that not right?

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Just now, Drew said:

 

I've always read Nicholas gave her up when he married. Is that not right?

That is certainly what the article I read about the film implied.

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Just now, Drew said:

 

I've always read Nicholas gave her up when he married. Is that not right?

 

Yes he asked a grand duke to "take care" of her. But they remained friendly -- Mathilde would put in requests to the czar himself if she wanted something at the Mariinsky theater.

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13 hours ago, dirac said:

 

Pfui. Nicholas and Alexandra are saints and I am Marie of Romania. Looking forward to the movie, though.

 

 

I beg your pardon. Do you realize the rudeness of your comment, Dirac? (I think you don't...not like you...but...)  This is an insult to the Orthodox Christian religion. No need to agree with the beliefs of a religion but please respect others' beliefs. Nicholas, his wife and five children have been canonized in the ROC. We pray before their icon. The mocking tone of your (and Sandik & Pherank's) comments, is uncalled for. Such rudeness is not the norm on a Ballet Alert ("a place for civilized discourse"). 

 

Would it it be ok to insult Islam or Judaism (or other belief...even atheism)? 

 

I believe that the ROC goes too far in banning the depiction of saints in performing arts...but I still take offense to your and others' mockery of my religion. Kindly apologize. Alternately, please delete those comments & I'll gladly delete this post. :)

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Well, I am very sorry Natalia (and others who may have been hurt or offended)--I do think the church is over-reacting, and feel justified in saying so, but should have thought more carefully before kidding around about it.  As I wrote above, Nicholas and Alexandra are saints in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Edited by Drew

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Thank you, MadameP, for the detailed background.  It sounds like it will be a visual treat if nothing else.  I'll cross my fingers that it turns out well in the acting, editing, etc.

________________

Regarding sainthood (I am asking out of sincere ignorance and mean no offense), isn't there a tradition of reformed sinners becoming saints with the narrative of their misspent youth remaining part of the story, eliminating the need to whitewash the past?

__________

Fin de siecle alter egos: I have been accused of being Sarah Bernhardt.???

 

Edited by lmspear
Typo

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Point taken, Natalia.  It wasn't actually my intention to insult your religion - but mine was an irreverent comment.

 

What's interesting to me, is that the living, performing dancers under discussion don't always receive the same basic respect (I do not mean worship).

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10 minutes ago, lmspear said:

Thank you, MadameP, for the detailed background.  It sounds like it will be a visual treat if nothing else.  I'll cross my fingers that it turns out well in the acting, editing, etc.

________________

Regarding sainthood (I am asking out of sincere ignorance and mean no offense), isn't there a tradition of reformed sinners becoming saints with the narrative of their misspent youth remaining part of the story, illiminating the need to whitewash the past?

__________

Fin de siecle alter egos: I have been accused of being Sarah Burnhardt.???

 

I know almost nothing of Orthodox tradition, but in Catholic tradition certainly--penitent saints have been very popular throughout Christian history. Mary Magdalen being the greatest example. Mary of Egypt being another (and also popular in eastern tradition, at least historically)

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I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier:  I'm supposed to get an email each time a thread is opened, so that I can be sure to follow it.

 

Just don't go there.  I'm not sure there's a place anyone should, but it's certainly not here.

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Thanks, Helene, and to Drew for apology/comments. 

 

This film is a fascinating topic. I intend to see the movie...and to later atone for the sin of having watched it. :P

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Thanks, Canbelto, for the picture. Ugly??????? The only thing ugly was whoever made that comment!! She has a lovely, strong and open face, with a beautiful smile and striking eyes.  Most of us should be so fortunate!

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Also, to be clear, this is not an issue of civility or meant to stifle criticism about the Romanovs.  It is about our firm policy:

 

  • Politics and religion are off-limits unless they are part of a ballet issue, like NEA funding for the arts or religious symbolism in a work.

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Helene, thank you for doing a hard job gracefully.  I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone, but good intentions aren't always enough -- I appreciate the correction gently given.

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Quote

I believe that the ROC goes too far in banning the depiction of saints in performing arts...but I still take offense to your and others' mockery of my religion. Kindly apologize. Alternately, please delete those comments & I'll gladly delete this post.

 

Natalia, no offense was intended and I regret if any was given. Nicholas and Alexandra, prior to their translation, were political figures operating in an intensely politicized context that was also a cruel (and, in the last days, sleazy) one.


I also admit that when I see unqualified statements like “Three cheers for Tsarist imperial splendor!” they trouble me, and surely it does not hurt to bear in mind the many generations of human suffering that said imperial splendor was built upon.  Ballet, the art we all love, has sometimes been fostered and supported by cruel and tyrannical regimes on both left and right. Nonetheless, I could have been less flippant. My chains were yanked, but I am sure you were innocent of any intent to yank them, and I apologize for my tone.  

Quote

Alix was also neurotic, high-maintenance, moody, prone to depression, and anti-social.

 

 

Alexandra thought that St. Petersburg society was frivolous, superficial, and out of touch with ordinary Russians. No doubt she had a point.

 

As I said, looking forward to the movie. Imperial splendor does make for lots of decor and costuming eye candy, I have to say.

 

Thank you, Helene, for the reminder, and sorry for your trouble.:)

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