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Afghan Star review

Afghanistan's answer to Pop Idol gives a novel insight into the workings of a newly free country

Afghanistan under the Taliban was a world without music. Television was blacked out. Dancing was sacrilegious.

“Our souls were dead, now we want them to wake up,” says a finalist of Afghan Star, an indigenous Pop Idol.

Tracking the rebuilding of this decimated, divided country through the prism of trash TV might seem trite, but Havana Marking’s ambitious if overstretched documentary is sobering stuff: one female contestant receives death threats for dancing and the SMS voting system represents the Afghan people’s first encounter with democracy.

There’s a long way to go, but perhaps the revolution will be televised after all.

Matt Glasby

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Available platformsMovie