Afghan Star
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When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996, among their many edicts was banning popular music, considering it a corrupting and sacrilegious influence. Though Taliban was swept from power in 2001, Islamic militants still regard music as sinful and have targeted Afghan musicians in assassination plots. Into this repressive culture comes a television show that has taken Afghanistan by storm -- Afghan Star, a talent search modeled after American Idol in which aspiring singers perform for the viewing audience and either advance in the ranks or are dropped from the competition based on… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"While its style and structure conform to the well-worn template established by docs like Spellbound, its success lies in creating an accessible, fun way into serious issues."
‑ David Fear, Time Out
"An informative documentary revealing how decades of war and years of Taliban repression have fallen to the wayside, however briefly, as Kabul's answer to American Idol seduces a violence-weary Afghanistan."
‑ Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times
"Timely and intriguing docu was the winner of the Directing and Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Fest."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"For once, the McDonald's-like spreading of American culture abroad seems to have actually been a good thing."
‑ Rob Humanick, Projection Booth
"An inspiring, fun documentary."
‑ Whitney Borup, Film Threat
"Of all the films to come out of the conflict, Afghan Star is the most provocative, because its message that people are essentially the same is a dubious, double-edge sword."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"One of the most hopeful and heart-rending movies I've seen this year."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"For all the dramatic pull of the competition and insight into current culture and politics in Afghanistan, it's a bit of a shame that the film itself is such a dry affair."
‑ Ian Buckwalter, DCist
"The film is both optimistic and depressing. This film is about a real war with real deaths that is going on in Afghanistan and one of the battlefields of that war is a pop music contest on television."
‑ Mark R. Leeper,
"One of the more surreal docs to come down the pike in some time."
‑ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
"Like The Kite Runner novel and movie, the documentary Afghan Star succeeds at dramatizing the lives of Afghans, but those we see on screen are real flesh-and-blood characters -- people who let their true feelings emerge."
‑ Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle
"This eye-opening film reveals that even systems as dubious as the Idol format mean dramatically different things when transferred to radically dissimilar cultures."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"... more than a popular phenomenon, this documentary shows how a simple, completely apolitical piece of entertainment crosses ethnic, regional and cultural borders..."
‑ Sean Axmaker,
"Afghan Star is an engaging and important film and what it lacks in depth, it makes up for in cultural impact. Worth seeing."
‑ Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
"Afghanistan's version of American Idol shines a spotlight on a culture in transition. Fascinating -- especially when it comes to the experiences of the woman who's risking her reputation and social standing in order to sing."
‑ Jennifer Merin,
More reviews for Afghan Star on Rotten Tomatoes

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