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The Last Tsarinas

Terri - AV January 04, 2019

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History tells us that the life of royals throughout history has been that of a “slave to the people,” a role whose difficulty we can’t appreciate. The Last Tsarinas: Splendor and Misery, directed by Hannes Schuler, weakly supports the thesis presented by the title, failing to convince me that Russian royals suffered that much. Focusing mostly on Charlotte of Prussia who married Tsar Nicholas I when he was still a duke, and who goes down in history as Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the documentary did a good job of describing what she would have felt, quoting from her diaries and detailing her experiences. It followed her descendant Maria von Preussen as she traced her great-great-great grandmother’s journey from her native Prussia to Russia to meet her groom-to-be, toured the church where Charlotte renounced her Protestant religion to embrace Eastern Orthodoxy, and danced period dances in a period gown. It was interesting to see this modern-day princess’s resemblance to her ancestor. The title was somewhat misleading, as the three tsarinas who followed Alexandra Feodorovna were merely mentioned. The footage of the landscapes and architecture were lovely, but we could have seen more of the palace interiors and the jewels that were so weighty she “thought (she) would die.” We were given only glimpses of the splendors of the palaces, nothing of the splendors of their lives; and the only misery we saw was the brief mention of the lives of the peasants. Overall rating: C

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