- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 27 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: May 28, 2013
- Originally Released: 1987
- Label: Shout Factory Theatr
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Interview with Director Jonathan Demme
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"[P]erhaps an invisible cloud of evil that circles the earth and lands at random places like, Iran, Beirut, Cambodia, America, set the Khmer Rouge out to commit the worst auto-homeo genocide in modern history"
- Spalding Gray
New York Times - 03/13/1987
"...Gray's feature-length monologue brings people, places and things so vibrantly to life that they're very nearly visible on the screen....[Demme] remains the American commerical cinema's most reliable and direct link to the avant-garde..."
Los Angeles Times - 04/03/1987
"...Audacious and vastly entertaining....SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA is soaring, unsparing and brilliantly observed. It is also a comment on the power of storytelling..."
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) established his mastery of "filmed performance" with TALKING HEADS--STOP MAKING SENSE. Here he captures the urgency, terror, humor and brilliance of single performer-- Spalding Gray, who stays seated behind a table at New York's Soho Performing Garage in 1987 for an intense monologue. Gray uses his experiences in Thailand filming the 1984 Academy Award winning film THE KILLING FIELDS as a springboard for all sorts of hilarious, moving digressions, notably a concise and bone-chilling history of Cambodia, and the mass murders brought about by Pol-Pot in the 1970's. There's also Gray's quest for "the perfect moment," a spiritual pursuit that involves drugs, detailed descriptions of the Bangkok brothels, and the apprehension involved in trying to memorize lines for the film. Fellow performance artist Laurie Anderson composed the background music, which along with the ingenious lighting and ambient sound effects perfectly accents Gray's delivery. Demme has crafted a brilliant film of a brilliant performer, infusing the proceedings with a real magnetic urgency, making it hard to look away even for an instant.
This unique feature film, adapted from performance artist Spalding Gray's one-man stage show, takes an in-depth, mostly humorous, sometimes horrific look at the art, politics, and good times during the making of the 1984 Academy Award-winning film THE KILLING FIELDS. Jonathan Demme blends his prowess in both narrative and documentary forms as he lifts the story easily from stage to screen. Laurie Anderson vigorously supports the images with her surprising and highly original score.
- Theatrical release: April 1987.
- Filmed onstage in New York City.