Some people might dismiss American Idol as vacuous entertainment, but what if voting for your favorite contestant was an act of political defiance? When viewers of Afghan Star, a copycat show in Afghanistan, vote with their cell phones, they risk the wrath of the Taliban, which would like to suppress all things musical, even if it has to destroy the countrys mobile phone network to do it. And when one of the shows female contestants croons and sways, she risks not only criticism but also execution, especially if her headscarf slips. The game may be the same as American Idol, but the stakes are worlds away.
British filmmaker Havana Marking followed four of these contestants to make Afghan Star, a documentary about the Afghan TV show of the same name, and it will play this Saturday at the Miami Beach Cinematheque at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets cost ten dollars.
Fri., Sept. 18, 7 & 9 p.m., 2009