Saigon Rocks will explore the life and times of the passionate musicians who forged a new “Youth Music” scene in southern Vietnam from the 1950s until the fall of Saigon in 1975. The bands are a revelation – a shock even – to the uninitiated. The sight of young Vietnamese kids rocking out in sharp suits or flairs and fur coats, defies our common perceptions of Vietnam, both then and now. However the singers and bands were not just wearing the right clothes, they had a real love for their craft and sought to create genuinely local music. They wanted their art to speak of their own culture, reaching the world as the voice of a young and independent Vietnam.
The film will conclude by exemplifying the parallel between then and now, intertwining the stories of the old guard and today’s aspiring artists. The musicians will discuss the charms and challenges of working in Vietnam, which are surprisingly similar across the generations, despite the major changes in the social and political landscape witnessed over the past half-century.