Afghan Star - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Afghan Star Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 28, 2009
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 make everything more difficult. What I enjoyed seeing most was how some people live with the fear instead of backing down on their "progressive" ideas. Americans need to be reminded how lucky we are and even what we are fighting for when we try to expand democracy. They feel voting for a singer is exercising democracy, but also live with fear they can lose their favorite new tv show at the same time.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2011
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 can watch something else and mind their business, especially as it concerns the musical competition, Afghan Star, where the winner gets $5,000. "Afghan Star" follows four of the finalists, Hameed, Rafi, Lima and Setara, who is also the most outspoken of the group, on and off stage to get a sense of how the contest is affecting their own lives and any resistance they face. Now, a singing competition might on the surface seem like a strange place to explore the changing state of freedoms in the country, but with any nation emerging from a repressive state, there has to be a first step(in this case, it is a dance step). In other times and places, it has been artists like Elvis Presley and Pedro Almodovar that led the charge.

So, while I agree with this moderately entertaining and insightful documentary that this television show where men and women occupy the same stage can lead to inspiring greater freedom, other conclusions concerning democracy and unity I am less sure of. While the contestants do run political style campaigns, this really should not be confused with the ballot box. Also, I bet that each ethnic group votes for their own primarily.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2013
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 Taliban. The idols are unique and terribly fun to watch.
½ November 29, 2011
The movie reveals a slice of Afghanistan that isn't shown in the news. The documentary seemed a little rushed and seems to skip over some subjects. But, regardless, the subject was fascinating as it was insightful. Even with the available cameras they used to film this documentary, the story kept me drawn in all the way to the end.
August 1, 2011
Afghan version of American Idol. A female contestant risks her life to express the human spirit through dance.
August 7, 2010
Interesting movie. Of course we hear about life in other places, especially Afghanistan because our men and women are fighting there. But to see it is interesting. One of the female finalist received death threat for showing a bit of hair and dancing ( badly). We've got it good despite what we think
May 28, 2010
It will reminder of the constant, and extreme chances Afghanistan has gone through not the past 30 years but 10. And the constant struggle of its people to reconcile their traditions with their faith and pop culture.
½ April 5, 2010
Reminded me a lot of Slumdog Millionaire, but in documentary form. Interesting story about a country trying to find entertainment during harsh times. And not harsh times like a bad economy. This is about a fight for liberation. Afghan Star didn't have enough juice to be considered hearth wrenching or dramatic, but just seeing what these people go through & the rules they must abide to is fascinating.
½ April 4, 2010
A most interesting look into celebrity and fame in Afghanistan via American Idol. Afghan Star is one of the first nationwide shows telecast across the entire country and it has apparently become a viewer's sensation! Afghan Star focuses on five singing hopefuls in this American Idol-rippoff (which I am fine with). The real show this is based upon, allows its viewers to elimated their least favorite singer each week in hopes of getting their favorite to the final for the title of Afghan Star. I mean -- this is American Idol in Afghanistan so the singers since about things in Afghanistan (some of the subtitled lyrics made me laugh simply because my life doesn't relate to theirs) and there is NO dancing (one female constestant sings and dances upon her elimination and all hell breaks loose -- death threats and her family's lives are all put into danger as she is labeled a "loose woman"). The documentary is eye opening in many ways -- they show us flashbacks to Kabul in the 80s with a very liberal student population and imposes it alongside the Kabul of today -- staunchly repressed and sad and bombed to bits. Afghanistan at one time could have become a tourist mecca; but with the arrival of the Taliban and other fringe groups it wasn't given the chance. Afghan Star follows the contestants down to the winner so we get so see Afghanistans star of the moment ... and after being taken all over the safe parts of the counntry it is eye-opening seeing the different sects voting for members of OTHER sects! AMAZING! There has been some major opposition to this show (the Taliban thinks their cellphone votes are being tracked!!!) and its life after one season remains in doubt. The shows producers pledges to continue on and it appears that there is a large portion of the population that will gladly and willlingly throw off some of the stricter Islamic rules pertaining to society. Afghan Star was an interesting documentary for many reasons -- it dealt with fame, celebrity, music, religion, acceptance and un-acceptance, Afghan youth and Afghan elders, geography, the landscape of Kabul etc. There as a lot here and it was told in an entertaining way. I don't know if their will be an Afghan Star 2; but I wish them well if they try to take it on. More power to 'em!
March 31, 2010
I stumbled upon Afghan Star on HBO, thinking it was some sort of American Idol spoof. I didn't change the channel until United States of Tara started, but it kept me captivated while I waited.
I later re watched the whole documentary and found it to be very well put together. It gives you an excellent insight to the world of Afghanistan. You will be shocked by some of the things that are covered, but nevertheless satisfied. I recommend you go out and watch it. HBO is always showing the film!
February 20, 2010
This is an eye-opening documentary about the Afghan version of American Idol, and the political implications of airing a show where everybody has an equal vote and even women can sing on stage. This documentary evokes a lot of different feelings at once, because as inspiring as it is to see part of the country and its people emerging from the Taliban's shadow, it is also shocking and sad to hear everyday people saying one of the contestants deserves to die for, god forbid, dancing on stage. On a lighter note, it was fun to watch the performances and see who would win. But because the story mostly focuses on the four contestants while only giving us glimpses of the big picture, that kept this documentary from being as deep and powerful as it could have been, even though it still tries its best to raise awareness of important issues.
January 30, 2010
Excellent documentary about how an American-Idol-style televised talent show (with votes cast by cell phone) is impacting a society tottering between fanatical (see Taliban, e.g.) and moderate Islam. As the show's producer notes at one point, for many young Afghanis, voting for Afghan Star is their first and only experience of democracy. At the cusp of the extremist-moderate conflict are the women contestants on the show, who must fear for their lives for simply allowing their faces to be seen on TV. A convincing look at daily life in Afghanistan and at the many faces of this very complex nation.
September 30, 2009
An execelent documentary that both highlights how far the peoples of Afghanistan have come from a fundamentalist dictatorship and also what problems must still be overcome. Further, it enlightens to the fact that at one time afghanistan was, similar to Turkey, an up and coming industrial and modernizing state, until the wars that tore the land apart. Overall if one can walk away with anything from this movie, it is a deeper understanding of the average Afghan's way of life and how that is changing.(p.s. anyone that gave this movie less than 70% most likely either don't understand what a documentary is, or are just trolling.)
August 23, 2009
Afghan Star was surprisely amazing. The whole documentary about a people oppressed by the last government, trying to sing and some of them even dance in a country where everything seemed forbidden was great.
August 21, 2009
Neither 'worst' nor 'awesome'. Perhaps meaningful to natives of these regions, but to my eyes (and ears), a dim second cousin twice removed from Slumdog. The implication that cellphone usage has brought democracy, whatever the heck that is, to a country decimated by war is laughable, if not disgusting. And, oh, the cute guy wins.
½ May 27, 2015
Much more than "American Idol in Afghanistan," Afghan Star captures a moment in Afghan history when music speaks directly to power, fraternity transcends ethnicity, and a woman's televised dancing is an act of defiance.
May 26, 2010
I forgot this movie was about Afghanistan on several occasions.
½ August 25, 2013
Very interesting film. You are, at first saddened by the fact that these so-called tallent compentitions that are ruining the music industry across the globe has even reached Afghanistan but then lifted by the fact that it is some light relief for a troubled nation but then bought back down to earth with a bump when you see the reactions of some people/groups. I just hope that Simon Cowell isn't making any money out of this.
January 5, 2014
seperti yang dkatakan salah satu anak kecil di awal cerita, musik bukan melulu tentang keindahan suara saja, karena bagaimanapun dunia tanpa suara (dalam hal ini musik tentu saja) menjadi begitu mencekam. yang ada hanya kesunyan.
Ketika Taliban mengambil alih pemerintahan Afghanistan, salah satu dari sekian banyka larangan adalah musik pop, menurut mereka mampu merusak dan mempengaruhi nilai moral yang berlaku di dalam masyarakat.
Musik bukanlah hanya tentang suara saja, dan di Afghanistan, setelah melalui begitu banyak penderitaan, musik adalah salahsatu cara mengalihkan genggaman tangan. Dari yang sebelumya menggenggam senjata, beralih menggenggam microphone. Bukan untuk meneriakkan dogma-dogma di sepanjang jalan, akan tetapi untuk mengisi kesunyian Afghanistan.
½ October 18, 2013
There is no reason that anyone who saw this would give it a good rating. It is absolute pandering garbage, not to mention being poorly done and resulting in the death of some of it's actors. The fact that critics have given this positive reviews should bring to question their credentials.
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