Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
If nothing else, Afghan Star offers a reminder of how much has changed in Afghanistan from the late ’70s--when Kabul was a secular-oriented city with co-ed universities and a thriving nightclub scene--to the rise of the Taliban.
Wholly one-third of the country, some 11 million people, watched the finale. Marking's film is too astute to pretend that such fleeting things can bring about peaceful democracy, but it's also perfectly aware that they certainly can't hurt.
An inspiring, fun documentary.
The movie uses the talent show Afghan Star as a prism through which to examine the fragmented tribal culture of Afghanistan as reflected in the backgrounds of four finalists (two of them women) and the public responses to their performances.
Afghan Star goes much deeper, eloquently conveying the tensions, small victories and shattering setbacks of a fragile democracy struggling to regain a once-flourishing culture.
The show works pretty much the same as "Idol" does, with Afghans voting by cellphone for their favorite performers. But this is Afghanistan, where the Taliban still has power, not America.
Miami Herald
Focusing on the contestants who make the initial cut -- two men and two women -- the film can't resist wringing some American Idol-style suspense from speculation about who the eventual victor will be. But the movie also leaves no doubt as to who the real winners are.
Not the slickest or most crowd-pleasing among many recent performance-competition docus, it's nonetheless absorbing for the light it casts on those many Afghanis who want an end to guns and fanaticism, and the return of a social liberalism.
Village Voice
Marking follows the finalists around on the last leg of their PR campaigns and captures something sweetly goofy, with an edge of creepy, about their aping of smarmy American self-promotion (kissing babies, etc).
Fascinating and, when you see Afghan versions of Simon Cowell and Co. reacting to tryouts, a reminder of how fame and the thirst for it is the same in any language.

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