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Carpenter Center tonight presents a series of short documentaries from the 30s. The 30s documentary is a neglected but influential area of film history, and tonight's program contains some quite unusual films.

These are not commercial newsreels. Made, for the most part, by small groups of independent filmmakers, they attempted to illuminate the social and political conditions of their time in a way that ordinary newsreels could not.

Worker's Newsreel Number 12 is a 10-minute fragment about the National Hunger March in late 1932. The Ford Massacre shows the results of an actual Detroit strike earlier the same year, while Millions of Us is a 20-minute staged story about strikes.

The pictorial insights of these short films may help illuminate aspects of the labor movement during the depression.

A different sort of short on the same program is Pie in the Sky, an improvised farce on the American pipedream, featuring a young Elia Kazan.

There are some other good films showing in Cambridge this week--though, compared to most weeks, this one is almost dismal. The documentary festival and the two Fellini films at Brattle are the main attractions.

There's also a beer party for the Chelsea Disaster Relief Fund at Harvard's only fraternity (85 Putnam Street) Saturday at 8:00. There's no film, but we couldn't think of any better place to put the listing.