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[Video] This Music Video Is a Quirky Homage to Go Lim Frontwoman Nga Nhi

For those familiar with Hanoi's independent music scene, the name Go Lim should ring a bell. During their fleeting single-year existence between 2011 and 2012, Go Lim was a breath of fresh air among the uneven gender demographics of rock musicians and enthusiasts at the time.

The band included lead singer Nga Nhi, Trang Chuoi and La Sim on guitars, Ha My on bass and Nghia Bom – the band's only male member and Nhi's brother – on drums. Go Lim's music combined the aesthetics of punk rock and riot grrrl ethos with their own facetious gender politics and playful creativity with the Vietnamese language. 

Despite calling it quits in 2012 after Nga Nhi's death, the quintet’s legacy lives on. The band’s playful and feminist energy continues to inspire not only other musicians but people working across different mediums: recently, a music video for 'Nin Tho' (Holding Your Breath), the last track in Go Lim’s only album, 'Gai Lang' (Village Girl), was released.

The video is directed by Vincent Baumont, a Hanoi-based filmmaker and founder of Almaz Media, a production collective working in the capital. The remaining band members lent additional support to the effort. The quirky visuals of the video capture the eccentric energy of Go Lim’s music and maintain the band's message.

The video was shot in slow motion, a contrast to the song’s rapid tempo, which enhances the tension of the track. The urban setting offers familiar images of Vietnam's streets and motorbikes. Its characters are easily recognized archetypes as well: the wealthy villain, gái gọi (prostitutes) and trẻ trâu (reckless youths). The narratives in the clip can be interpreted as a resistance against a society driven by money and wealth.

Baumont came across the band in 2011 while doing a video project about Hanoi Rock City, and he was impressed with what he saw.

“Without the need for stereotyped mohawks, with thuốc lá [cigarettes] and trà đá as [alternatives] to the myth of heroin and booze, [the] girls [are] just hanging and being themselves, like they should. Owning it and enjoying it. It was feminism in its full-blown glory, without any room [or] time for frustration, just the plain art of being here and now, along with a total lack of pose,” Baumont tells Saigoneer in an email. He later befriended Nga Nhi and Nghia Bom and eventually became a good friend of the band.

Baumont said he's been keen to make a fictional video about bikes and the streets of Hanoi, despite his background in documentaries. He developed the initial idea for a one-take shot, and after exploring several songs written by female Vietnamese artists, he settled on 'Nin Tho' for a very good reason.  

In the filmmaker’s words: "'Nin Tho' had the perfect [feeling of anger] to it. And it talks about being a woman: 'holding your breath because boobs are too heavy' as Chuoi would later put it. It was also about everything becoming [silicone], [a] reference to breast implants, turning women into objects of desire only.”

The video was created in fond memory of Nga Nhi, who passed away in 2011 due to lupus. Have a look at how Almaz Media put the music video together in this behind-the-scenes look at the process:

You can find out more about Go Lim’s music here and Almaz Media’s work here

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