Asia Entertainment pays tribute in “55 Năm Nhìn Lại” Video

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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2 Responses to Asia Entertainment pays tribute in “55 Năm Nhìn Lại” Video

  1. Hai-Dang says:

    Check out that cover image! Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be more clothing and less outrageously posed bodies than I’m used to seeing on these covers. Oh yeah, that’s Thuy Nga’s thing. (Paris By Night in Las Vegas / Planet Hollywood a case in point.) I’m heading to my parents’ house this weekend and hope they have a copy of this video so I too can enjoy the “timeless memories”. The ’54 temporal marker you highlight does sound like an interesting shift to a longer history and I wonder how it shapes the production and performance of nostalgia.

  2. Thuy says:

    I would definitely love to hear your thoughts after you’ve seen the video. It seems to me that pulling back to 1954 allows them so much more time to represent “heroic” South Viet Nam. The show seems to suggest that 1954-75 was some magical time for southerners and should be remembered and mourned by the next generation. Definitely a way to discipline diasproic knowledge about S.VN!

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