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Somehow it’s comforting to know that even in a nation ravaged by war for some 30 years, a man might still find it in his heart to sing and then weep openly when Central Asia’s answer to Simon Cowell is not impressed. In reality television, some things, it appears, are universal. Afghan Star follows four Afghan youths as they vie to become their poverty-stricken, conflict-torn nation’s first answer to American Idol. The quest is complicated by several unique cultural factors—deep-rooted ethnic divisions, rigorous morality standards, and sexism. To appear on the show at all is a brash political statement that might warrant not only the disapproval of judges but also the public wrath of a warlord. A few tips for future contestants: Don’t dance. Also, if possible, make sure you’re a man.

At 7:45 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre; also on Friday, June 19, at 11:45 a.m. at Round House Theatre.