Swimming to Cambodia Movie Review

With Spalding Gray's recent appearance at the Paramount (in Austin), we have a perfect excuse to revisit his masterwork, the highly-acclaimed Swimming to Cambodia. If you aren't familiar with Gray, he is a singularly unique entertainer--a monologist whose films and live performances consist of his "raving, talking head" behind a desk for 90-plus minutes, and they are always completely enthralling. In Swimming to Cambodia, Gray relates his experiences during the filming of The Killing Fields, a movie in which he had a minor role. Along the way, Gray speaks ostensibly about the malignancy of the early 1970s: Vietnam, the Kent State massacre, and the genocide committed by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, on which Fields is based. However, it is through Gray's subtle parallels with the evils of today--our urban strife, sex parlors, drugs, and deviants--that Gray's message really proves that we have become callused by the past and that our innocence has truly been lost. Laurie Anderson's tribal score and Demme's perfectly-executed direction take us right inside the mind of this eccentric genius. And it's one hell of a visit.

Cast & Crew

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Comments

Swimming to Cambodia Rating

" Essential "

Rating: NR, 1987

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