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O Panama

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"O Panama," 1985, a video drama, was created by James Benning, based on a story by Burt Barr. A series of short images or vignettes, some of which are repeated, build to tell the story of a feverish man (Willem Dafoe) in a city apartment remembering time he spent in Panama, probably as a soldier. The suggestion is that as he endures the fever, he is visited by recollections, visualizations, and hallucinations of other places and events. Early on in the work, words describing but not pinpointing the man's illness slowly cross the screen. There is very little spoken text. Dafoe is seen lying in bed, sweating, moving about the apartment, watching a Western on television, walking his dog, and listening to the radio. Intercut with this are images of postcards and snapshots of exotic animals; snowy buildings; and Dafoe at a waterfall, playing baseball, and underneath an army tent singing a warbling version of the national anthem.
Drama, Fever
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