Anh Does Vietnam
Midway into his movie length, two-part TV
special Anh Does Vietnam, irrepressible Aussie comic Anh Do
matter of factly relates his family’s escape from post-war Vietnam. As
recounted in his best-selling memoir The Happiest Refugee, the
infant Anh and some 40 other asylum seekers survived a harrowing five
day Indian ocean crossing, running out of food and water several days
into the trip and braving repeated attacks from pirates before finally
making it to the comparative safety of Australian shores.
Though a hugely successful actor and
comedian in his adopted homeland, Do says he continually found himself
musing what his life would have been like had he never left Vietnam.
This forms the premise of this engaging and affectionate travelogue,
which sees him journeying from Saigon to the country’s northernmost
borders, taking in the sights and turning his hand briefly, and usually
not entirely successfully, to a number of potential career paths such as
cyclo driver, organic farmer and bicycle delivery man.
Anh is certainly no shrinking violet, and
whether he’s leading an impromptu outdoor aerobics class or fishing with
village children in a muddy stream, he’s clearly at his happiest being
around people and doing his best to make them laugh. Both his
ever-present smile and his joy for life are infectious, and though the
series breezes by at 86 minutes he proves a dab hand as tour guide
throughout, providing a multifaceted and at times moving overview of
this beautiful, tragedy-ridden and ultimately inspiring country.