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It’s a cinematic rule of thumb: Sick people with festering sores are interesting; scientists in sterile labs are not. So it’s no surprise that the National Institutes of Health’s “Science in the Cinema” series takes a “disease of the week” approach, highlighting AIDS (Philadelphia, Aug. 3), cerebral palsy (My Left Foot, pictured, Aug. 17), autism (Rain Man, Aug. 24), and an Ebola-like viral infection (Outbreak, Aug. 31). The only exception to the plague parade is Madame Curie (Aug. 10), a 1943 film about the discoverer of radium. A discussion of scientific issues follows each screening. All films show at 7 p.m. at the National Institutes of Health’s Masur Auditorium, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda. FREE. (301) 402-2469. (David Plotz)