‘Vietnam: Fast Forward’ Unravels More than You Ever Knew about this Country (Movie Review)

Mike Szymanski
3 min readNov 30, 2021

Vietnam: Fast Forward

Rating: 6/10

Trailer: https://youtu.be/KIeiK3QiVuA

Directed by Eladio Arvelo

Style: Documentary

Run Time: 59 Minutes

Website: LastDaysOfCapitalism.com

It’s guaranteed that you’ll learn some fascinating facts about Vietnam in this nearly hour-long documentary that’s packed with details about the country that many Americans know only as a place we were at war with half a century ago.

This takes you to Ho Chi Minh City which is formerly known as Saigon. It’s a city of 9 million people and has a vibrant downtown.

Vietnam has a workforce that is 73 percent women, more than most developing countries, including the United States. Vietnam in 10 years has become the second largest producer of coffee beans, second only to Brazil.

It’s completely surprising facts like these that director Eladio Arvelo discovers as he talks to the workers of Vietnam, including farmers and CEOs of big corporations.

This is the generation of inspiring entrepreneurs who came out of the years of war and occupation. Many of the young people are pursuing their own personal dreams and pushing the tiny southeast Asian country into the front of the world stage.

He talks to a tour guide who only charges one dollar, coffee growers who have changed a whole community, and a female farmer who says when she’s tired, she stops and watches the flowers and butterflies around her in the beautiful countryside.

The documentary is a love story postcard about Vietnam. You will love the people, the country, and want to plan a visit there as soon as you can.

Chef Tan has figured out a way to lower profit and help his community.

The stories from the individual people are very special, happy, poignant and inspiring. A stunning violinist, fishermen, computer experts, and many others talk about how they have come up through hardships and earned their own superb successes.

One of the most entertaining characters in this documentary is Chef Tan who was trained as a doctor, then a butcher and then a farmer and chef. He talks about his farmers who play romantic music while milking their cows and that provides him 20 liters of milk whereas city cows only usually give 15 liters a day. This chef sells cheaper to the locals and sees it as an investment to the community.

It is an encouraging and hopeful documentary about the resurgence of a country that now has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

The director is new to filmmaking, having grown up in Venezuela and moving to San Diego where he works as an engineer for 20 years before turning to filmmaking. He created this beautiful travel piece in 25 days with a crew of two to three people trying to keep a low profiled while filming throughout the country.

The director is part of the story, and an engaging guy to bounce off the stories. He reacts with the surprise, laughter and sometimes disgust that we would have too while he travels the streets and tastes the food. And yes, we’d probably all react like him when trying out the goat penis soup.

Even if you know noting about Vietnam, you will become entranced with the world and the people.




Mike Szymanski

Journalist, writer, activist and bisexual, living with Multiple Sclerosis and Dachshunds in Hollywood.