HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
   
 
Newest Articles
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
   
 
  Afghan Star Sing Out LoudBuy this film here.
Year: 2009
Director: Havana Marking
Stars: Daoud Sediqi, Rafi Naabzada, Setara Hussainzada, Hameed Sakhizada, Lima Sahar, various
Genre: Documentary, Music
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Afghanistan has had more than its share of troubles over the years, but perhaps there could be a way of uniting a country which has been split apart by conflicts from the Mujahadeen and the Taliban. In 1996, the latter banned all forms of dancing, music and television, leading such things to be enjoyed in secret on pain of death if they had been done publically, so when the nation began to creep towards a more liberal and tolerant society, new television stations were set up. One of those was Tolo TV, and a producer there, Daoud Sediqi, saw a gap in the market for fresh faces...

Therefore Afghan Star was born, an immensely popular entertainment extravaganza which essentially brought the talent show to Afghan television in the form of those Simon Cowell productions which had been franchised across the world with the likes of The X Factor and American Idol, among many others. In the West, Cowell was not seen as some pioneer of cultural boundary-pushing, quite the opposite in fact, and rehashing Opportunity Knocks for the 21st Century was not many people's idea of groundbreaking TV, but they were watched by huge numbers, and in a curious way represented a democratisation of the music industry.

Or that part of the music industry serviced by those who produced efforts for those who did not want to be challenged by the material they enjoyed hearing; call it safe, bland and conservative, but that's what sold to a lot of punters. Except that in Afghanistan, their version of it was the closest thing to actual democracy, including the political strain, that many had experienced for decades, and for a portion of the population - the young - it was the first chance they had to see what it was like. Time and again director Havana Marking interviews the Afghan public and they tell her they prefer this showbiz programme to the business of choosing who rules them.

Okay, listening to pleasant pop tunes is probably more enjoyable than the misery of the Afghan political situation, but they had a point, and you could see this show was lightening a lot of lives, offering something to take their minds off the daily grind, especially in the more war-torn areas of the nation. We follow four of the contestants, two men and two women, but it's the women who evidently most intrigued Marking for a culture which had been oppressing their gender for the past few years (we see clips of Afghanistan before the troubles hit and it's notably more relaxed). One of the ladies, Setara, is a progressive thinker, and that gets her into trouble when she has the temerity to dance on the show.

It will seem incredible to many viewers outside of the stricter Islamic communities that watching this girl do a little dance while singing should scandalise great swathes of the public there, and even win her death threats, but that is what happens. She philosophical, explaining that she had lived under a regime of fear her whole life so this is nothing different for her, but you worry for her nonetheless, and the sequence where she is forced to return home and meet the family who keep hearing rumours she has been killed is the most emotional one in the documentary. Indeed, it's easy to forget there was a contest being held here, but we do eventually find out who won, and the public are represented by the Khan family who we are gladdened to see have been empowered by their appreciation of what in the West we take for granted and even dismiss as something to pass the time in front of on a weekend night. Sediqi is defiant in the face of the threats his show receives, and this may be concerning, but it's uplifting too.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1646 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: