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Afghans find some escape as ‘family cinema’ opens in Kabul

KABUL -AFP/UNS – The lights go off, the projector whirls,and for the first time in years Afghan families find themselves sharing popcorn and soda as Hollywood and Bollywood stars romp across the silver screen.

A family-friendly cinema has opened in Kabul, creating a rare venue in Afghanistan’s war-torn capital where women, usually confined to the home, can spend time in public with their husbands and children.

Kabul’s movie halls are popular with raucous male audiences who clap and whistle at screens wreathed in clouds of hashish and cigarette smoke.

As Zahra Sozan, a 25-year-old mother-of-one told AFP, it is not “traditional” for women or children to go to the movies.

But when the Galaxy was built last year it became the first cinema in Kabul to ban single men for certain hours when families are inside, sheltering women and children from harassment, smoke, and unsuitable behaviour.

“It’s my first ever experience visiting a cinema in Kabul, and the experience has been great,” Sozan told AFP, smiling despite having just emerged from watching the 2016 Hollywood supernatural thriller Lights Out.

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