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Wrapping up this year’s collection of Academy Award-nominated short films at the Loft are the documentary nominees, which primarily offer a current-affairs summary, like Saving Face, about acid attacks in Afghanistan. The outlier in the group is The Barber of Birmingham, which is still resonant but more reflective and historical. Two of the nominees in particular are showstoppers. Previous Oscar nominee Lucy Walker traveled to Japan to chronicle the aftermath of the tsunami and the slow rebirth of the island nation; beautifully photographed and capturing remarkable testimonies, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a real achievement. Meanwhile, the journey of infantryman Ethan McCord out of battle and through post-traumatic stress disorder gives Incident in New Baghdad a personal perspective on some of the less-publicized horrors of war.

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