I remember the end of the Vietnam War. I remember the brutal outcome of that war. It’s still very much a political issue here in the States, but what’s happened to Vietnam since then? Eladio Arvelo’s documentary short, Vietnam: Fast Forward, shows us a country ravaged by war and rising to global prominence in a Phoenix-like fashion.
Host Shareef Haq walks us down the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and shows us a growing metropolis with a thriving economy. He shares the stories of several of its citizens, many of whom are a generation removed from the war. The main spotlight is cast on the economic growth and the incredible work ethic of its people.
Today, 50% of Vietnamese families have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and own small businesses in the arena of tech and agriculture as their primary source of income. Shareef interviews many of these business owners, including tourism specialist Thu Nguyen, tea master Hung Nguyen, and premium coffee farmer Rolen Colieng. In fact, Vietnam has become the second-largest exporter of coffee behind Brazil.
“…a country ravaged by war and rising to global prominence in a Phoenix-like fashion.”
Vietnam: Fast Forward gives off some major tourism video vibes. The documentary is uber-positive and sells pretty hard Vietnam as an economic powerhouse. Honestly, this is not a criticism. The footage the director captures of Vietnam is gorgeous, and I’m talking about its rural areas. Not only do I want to visit the country, but after coveting a tea farmer’s property alongside a lazy river, I want to retire there.
I mentioned it earlier, but I remember the end of the Vietnam war and Vietnam: Fast Forward blew away any old images I had of a worn-torn country. The film’s subjects are filled with hope and optimism. Adversity from the past is turned on its head. A flattened field, bombed during the war, is now used for grazing cattle, and the cows’ nutrient-rich poop is highly valued.
Arvelo presents a vibrant and colorful modern Vietnam and a people who found a way not only to survive but succeed in areas of agriculture and technology. Fair warning, do not watch Vietnam: Fast Forward on an empty stomach. There’s a lot of incredible and odd-looking food.
"…filled with hope and optimism."