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[Video] Tanita Tikaram's Music Video Offers a Peek Into Vietnam in 1995

Tanita Tikaram is a British singer-songwriter who had commercial success in Europe with her debut album Ancient Heart and singles such as 'Twist in My Sobriety' and Good Tradition' in 1988.

In 1995, the musician released her fifth studio album, Lovers In The City. The music video for the song 'I Might Be Crying,' the lead single, was filmed in Vietnam. The video offers an interesting look at the country during the normalization of relations between Vietnam and the United States with signs of global capitalism becoming more and more visible in the everyday fabric of the country. 

The video opens with Tikaram standing in front of a wall featuring the Divine Eye, a symbol of Caodaism. It then transitions to shots of iconic tube houses and street scenes as Tikaram's deep and sensual voice takes listeners through a lyrical journey. The repeated appearance of Caodaism adds a layer of symbolism to the video, as one can notice how the camera also focuses on the eyes of different subjects including children, old people, passersby, Cao Dai worshippers, an ape and even Tikaram herself.

It's hard not to mention that the super close-up shot of the eyes can sometimes serve as a means to extract an emotional response from the viewers towards the subjects, risking emptying the subject's agency and making them a tool for a social or political agenda.

In Tikaram's music video, there is a certain wandering meditation of such practice and a questioning of the photographer and the viewer's gaze in general. There is one scene in which we see Tikaram's eyes blocked by the shadow of a building near where she's standing, making us question whether the act of casting light on something also goes hand-in-hand with pushing something else into a shadow. Is the camera so self-indulged in its own shadow of claims that it illuminates everything?

Take a look at the music video below:

[Top image via YouTube]