Originally a piece for theatre, Gray worked on his monologue for over two years and would perform for a total of four hours, over two nights in theatres across the US. Utilising powerful minimalism, Swimming to Cambodia is a prime example of memoir as art. The primary subject of this epic soliloquy is Gray's experience of filming The Killing Fields. His role as the US Ambassador's aide was a small one, and his consequent free time in Cambodia was thus filled with educating himself on the horrors of the country's history. Gray offers the audience, equipped with only a glass of water, pointing stick and two maps, a background to the events occurring in Cambodia at the time in which The Killing Fields is set. Disgusted by what he learnt, Gray protests, 'who needs metaphors for hell or poetry about hell? This really happened, here on earth.'
- Swimming to Cambodia review by GF
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You rated this film: 5
This film had a significant impact on my life would, love to see it again. Shame it is not available. Spalding Gray's performance was excellent and the theatrical and simple presentation by Jonathan Demme allows for a dramatic and moving performance.