The Home Song Stories

Synopsis: Rose, a Shanhainese songstress singing at nightclubs in HongKong during the 60's, marries an Australian sailor and migrates with her young son and daughter to Melbourne. Her past filled with lost innocence, she begins a cycle of dependence and desperation to create a family for herself and her children, culminating with her affair with Qi, an illegal immigrant from HongKong. Watched through the eyes of her young son, the mother's journey reveals painful truths about the human condition, the love of family and self, and the price we pay for growing up.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Tony Ayres
Production: Dendy Films
  20 wins & 29 nominations.
103 min

If everyone has one story

which defines them,

which shapes who they are,

then this is mine.

This story is about my childhood.

My sister and me.

Most of all, this story is about my mother,

the nightclub singer.

I write it over and over,

trying to understand her,

and all the things that she did.

In 1964, my mother followed

an Australian sailor to Melbourne.

She and Uncle Bill got married.

Look at the camera.


A week later she left him.

Wah! Hong Mei Wah!

What are you doing in Sydney?

I've come to see you, Uncle Wu.

For the next seven years,

we drifted,

from place to place

and from uncle to uncle.

But somehow, none of my mother's

plans worked out.

By 1971,

we had one option left

to go back to Melbourne;

back to Uncle Bill.

That year,

That was the year our lives changed forever.

Why such a long face?

Why do we have to move all the time?

This is a new life. You should be happy.

Yes, ma.

Not "yes ma, no ma".

Be happy!

Be happy!


Where is he?

There he is.

I wasn't sure if...

Thank you.

Everything go Okay? No problems?

No problem.


I'm really glad you made it.

Hello Uncle Bill.

Not uncle. Father.

He your father.

You must be tired.

Thank you.

I didn't get a chance to tell you,

but there's someone else

living there as well.

It's only temporary, you know,

for a short time.

You have girlfriend?

No, no, nothing like that... no...

just, I'm away so much with the navy.

I needed someone to look after the place.

So my mum moved in.


You let me know if there's

anything you need.

Thank you, Aunty Norma.

Grandma. Thank you, grandma.

Golden Princess attacks the Jade Warrior


Tickle, tickle, tickle.

Make yourself at home.

You know, anything you need.

I reckon we can work things out.

You look good.

You good man.

You take care of us.


Blood too hot. Must make cool.

You right?

We make house beautiful.

Hey Ma, I found this.

Ah, clever boy.

From China. Very expensive.

Thank you.

There's a letter for you on the dresser.

From the Department.



That door jamb needs fixing.

You'll have to get some wood putty.

You didn't have to...

How's dinner?

Very nice.

Tell the old cow the food is good.

This food is delicious, Grandma.


I feel sick.

She try poison us. True!

Tomorrow we get real food.

No more eat old cow food.

How long are we staying?

Always stay.

This our home now.

Yeah, but that's what you always say.

Cheeky boy.

You naughty tonight.

When old cow go,

you two can have your own room, eh?

Be like Australian.

Your mother make everything good, eh?

Oh sorry, sorry. Sorry.

I've decided to read the whole encyclopedia.

So when I finish, I'll know everything.

You're weird.

What are you writing?

Bet you it's about boys.

You go how long?

Four months, tops. It'll go quickly.

Your mother? She stay?

Look, I know it's not what we planned,

but it'll work out. I promise.

I'll send more as soon as I can.

Do you need a menu?

Hello, how are you?

You have to order from the waitress.

I don't want what you serve Australians.

I want to see your real Chinese food.

Is your tofu fresh?

You have to try it.

Who are you?

I've just moved here from Hong Kong.

You don't sound like

you come from Hong Kong.

I grew up in Shanghai.

My Cantonese isn't very good.

You speak with a Shanghai accent.

Table five is in a hurry.

You're from Hong Kong, aren't you?

Where did you live?


I lived there too. Which street?

Tsim Sha Tsui.

So we were neighbours.

I lived in Hau Fook Street.

My name is Rose.

I'm Ah Yin, call me Winnie.

Joe. My name is Joe.

Eat up.

Shao Wah...

Yes ma.

You write to him today,

he has to send more money.

How can we live on what he left us?

He promised he'd take care of us.

Hurry up, lazy bones.

Where are we going?

How would I know?

Jade Warrior attacks

the Golden Princess, Hai!


Hai! Hai!

Look at you, Rose,

as beautiful as your name.

I've brought my children to

eat your delicious food.

Good, we're about to eat.

This is the owner, Bing.

This is Hong Mei Gwei.

She's the famous singer

I told you about.

An honour to meet you,

a star in our restaurant.

Come join us.

We don't want to be any trouble.

Please. There's plenty of room.

You're my guests today.

If you insist.

Thank Uncle.

Thank you, Uncle.

Chan was the head chef at

the Golden Goose in Kowloon.

One of my favourite restaurants.

That's where all the nightclub

singers used to go.

You have good taste.

Frances Yip loved my salty chicken.

Kim came from Taishan.

Hello Aunty.

You're a village girl,

just like my grandmother.

Here's our apprentice cook with

his specialty, ginger fish.

Nice to see you, Rose.

Nice seeing you, Joe.

I sang this song at the Phoenix Club.

Don't wake up the old cow.

Pour Mama a drink.

Ma, you have to go to bed now.

One more drink.

Go to sleep.

Go to bed.

Why can't I come with you?

You don't want to come. Too boring.

Go to park. Play with friends.

I don't have any friends.

Ai-ya! The air in this country is too dry.

Make skin like paper.

When a woman gets old,

no one wants her any more.

She is useless.

Like a dog with three legs.

Your mother beautiful?

Yes, Mama.

Don't worry, Dede.

I'll be your friend.

Yeah, but you're my mother...

How embarrassing's that?

You have to grow up to be big and strong.

So you can take care of your mother!

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Tony Ayres

Tony Ayres (born 16 July 1961) is a Portuguese Macau-born Australian showrunner, screenwriter, director in television and feature film. He is most notable for his films Walking on Water and The Home Song Stories, as well his work in television, including working as the showrunner on The Slap and teen adventure series Nowhere Boys. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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