Box Office - 05/26/2009 4 stars out of 5 -- "AFGHAN STAR is as entertaining as any talent competition but also has a strong socio-political story, providing a revealing look at Afghanistan as it rebuilds after years of war, Taliban rule and struggles with democracy."
A.V. Club - 06/25/2009
"[It's] moving to see young Afghanis testing the bounds of what their society will allow, as they sing popular regional songs about forbidden romance." -- Grade: B+
New York Times - 06/26/2009
"[An] engrossing documentary....[There is] a steady narrative drive to this portrait of an 'American Idol'-style television show in Afghanistan."
Los Angeles Times - 07/24/2009
"[T]his eye-opening film reveals that even systems as dubious as the 'Idol' format mean dramatically different things when transferred to radically dissimilar cultures. In the context of Afghanistan, the show's core idea becomes moving, dramatic and significant..."
Film Comment - 01/01/2010
"Havana Marking's documentary resonates most deeply as a snapshot of a country caught between the memories of pre-Taliban freedoms and the realities of present-day cultural restrictions."
An AMERICAN IDOL-style show becomes a cultural phenomenon in Afghanistan, in this remarkable documentary that follows four contestants on their unusual journey. With the Taliban out of power, AFGHAN POP IDOL offers the Afghan people their first taste of democracy. But, for its contestants, the results of this experiment might be deadly.