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FRIDAY

Combining ’30s musicals with documentaries both vintage and contemporary, “For a Better America: The Depression Era on Film” not only chronicles what happened to average Americans in that wrenching period but also shows what Hollywood did in its attempts to distract them. Today is Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?, a cinematic history of the ’30s made in 1975. Upcoming programs include a new documentary about the ’30s phenomenon of Riding the Rails (April 10 & 11), selected social-protest shorts from the period (April 16 & 18), and Hallelujah, I’m a Bum, an Al Jolson musical with songs by Rodgers and Hart (April 22 & 23). Brother screens at noon at National Archives Theater, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW; and noon Tuesday at National Archives Auditorium, 8601 Adelphi Rd., College Park. FREE. (202) 501-5000. (Mark Jenkins)