7.8/10
1,678
17 user 31 critic

Swimming to Cambodia (1987)

R | | Comedy, Drama | April 1987 (USA)
Spalding Gray discusses his participation in the film The Killing Fields (1984) and the background story about the troubles of Cambodia.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Himself
...
Additional cast from 'The Killing Fields' (archive footage)
Ira Wheeler ...
Additional cast from 'The Killing Fields' (archive footage)
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Storyline

Spalding Gray sits behind a desk throughout the entire film and recounts his exploits and chance encounters while playing a minor role in the film 'The Killing Fields'. At the same time, he gives a background to the events occurring in Cambodia at the time the film was set. Written by Peter Goldsack <peteg@hpsqf.sqf.hp.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

April 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia  »

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Box Office

Gross:

$1,092,911 (USA)
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[On dealing with the annoying upstairs neighbor]
Spalding Gray: Renee is not practicing Buddhist tolerance. She's walking up and down... she's got STEAM screaming out of her navel. And there are people say we should start a collection to hire a vigilante to off this woman, to kill her, and I find I'm not saying "no"? That's how New York has changed me? I'm willing to put money into the pot?
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Connections

References The Deer Hunter (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good, but not as good as I expected
13 April 2000 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

One day a couple of years ago, while I was waiting for a television show, I was flipping through the channels and I caught part of Spalding Gray's monologue film -Monster in a Box- and I was so blown away by it that I missed the show that I had been waiting for. I don't know why it took me so long to rent another one of his monologue films, but this week I picked up his first one, -Swimming to Cambodia-. It was good, but nowhere near as good as -Monster in a Box-.

For one thing, -Monster in a Box- was very well directed, and the "special effects" do not get in the way. But in -Swimming to Cambodia-, the sound effects are often too loud, and thecutting is too quick and artsy, when it should have been nothing but slow pans and zooms, sort of like -My Dinner With Andre-. Then there is this awful effect with the lights, basically shutting them off to cut the emotional rhythm. This was unneeded. Gray's performance itself establishes rhythm enough.

My second big complaint is with the monologue itself. It is mostly very interesting, but it is not polished or cohesive. Just as he does in -Monster in a Box-, Gray alternates between very hilarious narrative (such as the descriptions of the sex acts in Thailand) and very harrowing narrative (such as the descriptions of Pol Pot's revolution). That technique works extraordinarily in -Monster in a Box-, but the two halves of the narratives don't seem to do with each other at all. The funny half concerns the work on the movie -The Killing Fields-, and the harrowing half very intensely examines the true story of the Kamir Rouge and America's dealing with these kinds of situations. Also, the monologue seems to end almost arbitrarily.

This film is definitely worth a rental. It is under 90 minutes, which I always count as a plus. But if you want to be impressed, rent -Monster in a Box-. 7/10


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