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Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan / The Rock Star and the Mullahs

Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan / The Rock Star and the Mullahs

(Narušit ticho: Hudba v Afganistánu - Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan / Rocková hvežda a Mullové - The Rock Star and the Mullahs) Director: Simon Broughton / Angus Macqueen - Ruhi Hamid, Afghanistan - VB / VB, 2002, original version / Czech sub-subtitles, 110 min

  • Breaking The Silence, directed by Simon Broughton, publisher of Songlines magazine and co-editor of the Rough Guide to World Music, documents the remarkable revival of musical culture in Afghanistan after the period of Taliban rule, during which almost all forms of music were prohibited, musicians censored, and traditional instruments destroyed. Tracing the recent history of the country through news footage and period clips from Afghan television and vintage feature films, the film makes it clear that the return of music to daily life in the country is part of a greater reclaiming of national heritage and culture in the name of human dignity.

  • A probing look at a genuine clash of the civilizations - within one Islamic society. Balancing humor, pathos and provocation, The Rock Star and the Mullahs cleverly uses the debate between Ahmad's moderate but charismatic presence and rousing music and the hard-line fundamentalism of his clerical opponents as a basis to examine the larger battle of definitions and rhetoric raging within Islam today. Nowhere is this stuggle more evident than in Pakistan. Salman Ahmad, lead singer of Pakistan's leading rock group, Junoon ("the U2 of Asia"), travels to the troubled region of Peshawar, where the local government has banned all music, and asks, "Why can't spirituality be expressed in pop song? Who are the mullahs to say it is forbidden?"


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