Russia: Free cinema for homeless opens in Moscow

Moscow homeless watch a film at a makeshift charity cinema Image copyright Mir24
Image caption The audience plumped for an old Soviet classic at the opening showing

Volunteers in Moscow are seeking to lift the spirits of the city's homeless population by opening a cinema for them.

The makeshift cinema is a tent seating about 100 next to a new welfare centre for vagrants near the busy Yaroslavsky Station, and will be open over the summer, the Novyye Izvestiya newspaper reports. Organised by the homeless charity Friends on the Street, the films are free of charge, and free food is provided before showings. There are two sessions every month, with the audience voting for what they want to watch. Tastes appear to tend towards lighthearted crowdpleasers, with Operation Y and the Adventures of Shurik - a 1960s slapstick comedy about the antics of a naive and geeky student - getting the nod on the cinema's opening on Sunday.

"People voted for something good, old-fashioned and Soviet," Natalya, one of the organisers, tells TV channel Mir24. Several of the visitors are appreciative. "I've long forgotten when I last went to the cinema," one of the homeless, Alexander, says. "Even though I used to treat people myself to the cinema when I worked at a film studio." Friends on the Street's plans for the homeless don't end with cinema, however, with a beauty salon and a football match in the works.

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