In filming Spalding Gray's mesmerising monologue 'about' his experiences acting in Roland Joffé's The Killing Fields, Demme simply shoots the raconteur seated behind a table and lets him rant. Equipped only with a glass of water, two maps, and a pointing-stick, Gray takes us on a meandering magical mystery tour that encompasses poetry, humour, political education and the confessional. Linking it all is a lucid personal history of US military aggression and Cambodia Year Zero. And it is here that Gray is most powerful: tossing out outrageous analogies, images, conceits and connections for our quick consideration, he paints a portrait of genocide as perceptive as it is original, as scary as it is scathingly funny. Remarkably, Demme does the man justice, utilising only lighting, Laurie Anderson's sound images, and eminently sensible editing to bring the love, pain and the whole damn thing gloriously to life.
Swimming to Cambodia
Cast and crew