Swimming to Cambodia
|Swimming to Cambodia|
|Directed by||Jonathan Demme|
|Produced by||Lewis M. Allen
|Written by||Spalding Gray|
|Music by||Laurie Anderson|
|Edited by||Carol Littleton|
The Swimming Company
|Distributed by||Cinecom Pictures|
Swimming to Cambodia, also known as Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia, is a 1987 American documentary film directed by Jonathan Demme, written by and starring Spalding Gray. The performance film documents Gray's play and monologue, which centered on such themes as his trip to Southeast Asia to create the role of the U.S. Ambassador's aide in The Killing Fields, the Cold War, Cambodia Year Zero and his search for his "perfect moment". The film grossed slightly over $US1 million.
The monologue was first published in book form two years before the release of the film.
Swimming to Cambodia was originally a theatre piece on which Gray spent two years working. The original running time of the performance was four hours long and took place over two nights. It won Gray an Obie award.
The opening shots of the film depict Gray walking toward The Performing Garage in New York. He goes in and after walking in past the audience, he takes his seat behind a table. On the table is a glass of water, a microphone and a notebook which Gray brought with him. Behind him are two pulldown maps. One is a map of Southeast Asia and the other is a diagram of the bombing of Cambodia, which Gray tells the viewers/audience was called Operation Menu. There is also back-lit projection screen which has projected on it a picture of a beach.
Gray goes on to perform a monologue where he discusses his experiences filming a small role in the movie The Killing Fields. Interspersed with his own experiences he expounds on the recent history of Cambodia up through the coming to power of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Genocide. A small scene from The Killing Fields is the only other footage in the movie.
The soundtrack for this film was composed and performed by Laurie Anderson, who would also score Gray's follow-up film, Monster in a Box. Gray returned the favor by providing the voice of a TV interviewer for her 1986 short film, What You Mean We?. No soundtrack album was released; Anderson later reused music from the film for a series of "Personal Service Announcements" she produced in 1989 to promote her album, Strange Angels.
Swimming to Cambodia was released in the UK on region 2 on the 16th March 2015 by Simply Media
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