Review: ‘Swimming to Cambodia’

Witnessed in its original SoHo incarnation as a staged monolog, Spalding Gray's free- associating recollection of his experiences in Thailand during the making of The Killing Fields had an exhilarating immediacy which is mostly absent in this compressed filmed performance of Swimming to Cambodia.

Witnessed in its original SoHo incarnation as a staged monolog, Spalding Gray’s free- associating recollection of his experiences in Thailand during the making of The Killing Fields had an exhilarating immediacy which is mostly absent in this compressed filmed performance of Swimming to Cambodia.

Addressing a live audience from a seat at a bare table, the emotionally expansive, anti-heroic raconteur skillfully fosters an illusion of spontaneous, confessional intimacy.

Recreating a dislocating culture-shocked odyssey that takes him from the surreal fleshpots of Bangkok to a nearly suicidal quest for a ‘perfect moment’ at a spectacularly paradisical Thai beach, Gray elicits compassion and universal recognition for his serio-comic search for self.

Swimming to Cambodia

Production

Demme. Director Jonathan Demme; Producer R.A. Shafransky; Screenplay Spalding Gray; Camera John Bailey; Editor Carol Littleton; Music Laurie Anderson; Art Director Sandy McLeod

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Spalding Gray
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