Based on his youth, Home Song Stories tells the tale of part of the early life of award-winning writer, producer and director Tony Ayres. His mother brought he and his sister to Australia in the late 60s, married an Australian sailor but then immediately left, living with a variety of ‘uncles’. Finally, at the point the film starts, Rose (Joan Chen), Tom (Joel Lock) and May (Irene Chen) return to the sailor, Bill (Steve Vidler). However his mother also lives there, and before long, the family have moved out with Uncle Jow (Yuwu Qi). Unfortunately, Rose suffers from depression, and things get really tough for the family.
It’s a terribly sad film, and is told in a way that even when I wanted to dislike some characters, I couldn’t. (Well, apart from the openly racist – it’s not hard to hate them) Each time that I wanted to shake someone and say ‘stop it!’ I was equally as aware that their behaviour was often the result of circumstance, mental health issues and so much more. Tragic and at times, hard to watch, but capturing perfectly a moment in time.