After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, pop Idol has come to Afghanistan. Millions are watching the TV series ‘Afghan Star’ and voting for their favorite singers by mobile phone. For many this is their first encounter with democracy. This timely film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk all to become the nation's favorite singer. But will they attain the freedom they hope for in this vulnerable and traditional nation?
Afghan Star, the catharsis of a country on a television screen
At the crucial stage of this documentary, three young participants belonging to different of the most influential tribes of Afghanistan sing in front of the television cameras in order to achieve national stardom in the third season of “Afghan Star”, the adapted version of the Anglo-Saxon “American Idol “or” The X Factor “.
“Afghan Star” uses the device of the reality-show to tell with a raw and intelligent narrative — with the virtue of avoiding the use of images of the television program — the reactions that a TV Show like this provokes in a multiethnic country damaged by invasions, war and recently opened to musical expression after several years of its banning during the Taliban government.
The film follows the participants in their hopeful journey during the third season of the contest, as well as shows the avid spectators who in every corner of Afghanistan gather in front of the TV to support their idols, moved not only by their musical preferences but also — and this is the most important point of the documentary — for the sense of belonging to a political and religious group.
As some filmmakers and philosophers say, referring to television as the great language of recent times, a kind of seed or atom that concentrates the trend of our behavior as a society. “Afghan Star” discovers in the resource of television a metaphor of the influence of the West in the East and the contradictions of a country in which music explodes as an expression of the most latent aspirations of its inhabitants.