Film #191: AFGHAN STAR
3 out of 5 stars
A fascinating documentary on Afghanistan’s version of AMERICAN IDOL. There are two things interesting here. Firstly, the film shows the extremes in cultural differences between East & West. There are points when the contestants are in very real danger of being killed for their participation in the show (these singers are exclusively women by the way). There is very real opposition to the entire concept of the show even being aired on TV. Second, there is the hint of real change being made in the country (mostly by young people who are tired of living during times of war) and how that change is being brought about. Third - and most significantly - is not the differences, but the similarities between the common folk of this war-torn country. It highlights better than any political rhetoric just how much we are all the same under the skin regardless of our locale, religion, or political perspective. As a piece of entertainment, this documentary is solid. As a cultural barometer, it’s an important document. That all said… some viewers will be put off by the music itself, it is VERY indigenous and may sound dissonant to Western ears, but… there is a real beauty to it and the vocals are highly technical. Very informative and entertaining.