Afghan Star
Afghan Star (2009)

After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, "Pop Idol" has come to television in Afghanistan. Here, we follow four contestants as they risk their lives to sing in competition.

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: June 26, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010
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Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
100%
Flixster
User Score
76%



Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: An enlightening and sobering documentary on Afghanistan's very own X-Factor.

David Fear
Time Out

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.

Michael Upchurch
Seattle Times

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.

Full review…
Emanuel Levy
EmanuelLevy.Com

Timely and intriguing docu was the winner of the Directing and Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Fest.

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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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.

Ty Burr
Boston Globe

One of the most hopeful and heart-rending movies I've seen this year.

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Ian Buckwalter
DCist

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.

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Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco 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.

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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times

This eye-opening film reveals that even systems as dubious as the Idol format mean dramatically different things when transferred to radically dissimilar cultures.

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Sean Axmaker
Seanax.com

... more than a popular phenomenon, this documentary shows how a simple, completely apolitical piece of entertainment crosses ethnic, regional and cultural borders...

Full review…
More reviews for Afghan Star

Flixster Audience Score: 76% Flixster User Reviews
Thomas Johnston
Interesting to see how a knock off of a western television show is made in a country with such strict laws regarding music, dance and even television in general… More
Walter M.
As televisions make a return to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, so too should remote controls that can change the channel, so those easily offended… More
John Ballantine
Far better than the original American or Pop Idol, Afghan Star depicts people erupting after having their collective expressions put under the boot of the… More