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In the documentary The Beauty Academy of Kabul, a group of American hairdressers goes to the war-torn Afghanistan capital to set up a salon. The Taliban is no longer around, but oppression lingers as women sign up for hair-cutting and massage classes. Still, no one is deterred by lost mannequins, suspicious looks, or streets populated by gun-wielding soldiers. Teachers include a loudmouth Midwesterner, who barnstorms through the country as if were a suburban strip mall, and a yoga-practicing stylist, who encourages students to meditate before they head back to their repressive homes. It's a fascinating study of both the contrast between cultures and how much they strangely have in common. Despite the rubble around them, these strong-willed women still want to look their best.
Aug. 18-19, 7 p.m.

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