The first 3-D movie theater has opened in Turkmenistan, three years after a ban on films was lifted in 2008. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov inaugurated the theater in the capital, Ashgabat.
The capital already has two other cinemas. In addition to a standard screening room of 50 seats, the newest movie theater contains a high-tech, 70-seat 3-D screening room.
The French company Vinci is responsible for the theater’s construction. Igor Gorowitz, regional director for the company, said the cinema cost $20 million.
Berdymukhammedov has ruled Turkmenistan since the death of his eccentric predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, in 2006. The inauguration of this cinema is the latest step in Berdymukhammedov's gradual dismantling of Niyazov’s social policy, which forbade cinema, circus, ballet, and opera for the sake of the “national mentality."
Vinci had earlier proposed the design for an international airport for Ashgabat and has since offered to build a waterpark at Turkmenistan’s Caspian Sea resort zone in Avaza.
-- Joanna Kinscherff