Ostensibly, Great Speeches is a documentary about homeless people in which they recite speeches by Chief Sealth, Bobby Kennedy, Sojourner Truth, et al. Deep down, the film (by local director and Stranger Genius Linas Phillips) is really about language—its subjects' hard-luck stories about drugs, rape, and death are a means to understanding the speeches. (A guy who has attempted suicide seven times, for example, gives a heartbreaking recitation of Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech from a hospital bed.) The film strips the crust of history away from the words, making them unsettling and dangerous all over again. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863. 7 and 9 pm, $9.)

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