Asia Entertainment, for those who might be unfamiliar with Vietnamese disaporic pop culture, is the production company that has gone head to head with Thúy Nga (of the famed Paris by Night variety show) for many years. Asia produces very similar shows as Thúy Nga and the popular criticism of these productions is that they exhibit very little creative innovation, recycling nhạc vàng (“yellow music”) through a few new voices in all their shows.
But every now and then a show comes along that seems worth the $25 price tag and I found just such a show in Asia’s most recent release of their commemorative “55 Năm Nhìn Lại” (Looking Back on 55 Years) video on April 23, in time for all the commemoration events going on among Vietnamese American communities across the United States. The photo montage on its cover represents the tried-and-true marketing strategy for both Asia and Thúy Nga, but the real hook, for me, was the “55 Năm” theme. Most commemoration videos produced by Asia and Thúy Nga often use the 1975 “Fall of SaiGòn” temporal marker, but this one goes further back to the Geneva Accords of 1954 when Vietnam was divided at the 17th parallel.
For this reason alone, I brought the video home and spent half the day watching it. I can’t say the video was exceptional or innovative in its narration of South Việt Nam history, but it is definitely worth a screening as it does show interesting documentary footage from the pre-1975 era in South Việt Nam along with some classic nhạc vàng performed by beloved singers who came out of retirement (or obscurity) such as Thanh Thúy, Sơn Ca, and Giang Tử. Here’s a sample:
-Thúy Võ Đặng
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