French help rebuild Kabul pic palace

$1 mil renovation organized by Gaul filmmakers

NEW DELHI — One of Kabul’s most famous cinema houses, almost destroyed during the 1992-1996 civil war, has been rebuilt thanks to the assistance of French filmmakers.

French Minister of Culture and Communications Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres traveled Sunday to the war-battered Afghan capital to cut the ribbon at the 600-seat Ariana, first opened in the late 1960s.

The $1 million renovation was the work of “Un cinema pour Kaboul,” a group of several French filmmakers.

Helmers Claude Lelouch, Danis Tanovic and thesp Philippe Torreton were in Kabul for the opening ceremony.

Donnedieu de Vabres read a message from French President Jacques Chirac before joining other VIPs watching a short film on the renovation work.

Before the civil war, the Ariana was one of the most popular venues in Kabul, screening movies from around the world.

At least 30% of films it plans to show now will be French and European.

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