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THROUGH NOV. 17

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There is something seriously wrong with me. Every time I catch a popular flick at the local 20-screen cinema, I break out in a rash right there in my seat. Then comes the nausea. And finally, the uncontrollable obscenity-shouting. I’ve been to the doctor and, according to him, I’ve got a severe case of filmorum suckorum avoidius, also known as “badfilmaphobia,” or, more simply put, an increasingly rare disorder called “taste.” The only sure cure these days is a partial lobotomy. Sounds comfy, but unfortunately it isn’t covered by my health insurance. Thank goodness, there is an alternative treatment: the National Library of Medicine’s Strong Medicine: A Festival of Movie Masterpieces & Obscurities, which combines a close examination of “the cultural, social, and existential meanings” of disease, deformity, and the medical marketplace with an exploration of the “relations between doctor and patient, the scientist and research subject, and the peculiarities of life in the institutions where medicine is transacted.” Opening with Arthur Hiller’s 1971 medical satire The Hospital (at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22), the festival goes on to include David Lynch’s 1980 biography The Elephant Man (at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29), based on a real-life, physically deformed 19th-century sideshow performer, and Todd Haynes’ 1995 psychological drama Safe (pictured; at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6), in which a meek housewife (Julianne Moore) suffers from a debilitating, and perhaps psychosomatic, “environmental illness.” Each of the features presented are accompanied by “introductory remarks by historians, film critics, or NIH scientists,” as well as historical shorts from the National Library of Medicine’s collection. No prescription is necessary, so call in sick to work for screenings through Thursday, Nov. 17, at the National Library of Medicine’s Lister Hill Center, National Institutes of Health, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda. Free. See CityList[CK] for a weekly schedule, or call (888) 346-3656 or visit nlm.nih.gov for a full schedule. (Matthew Borlik)