Preview of The Home Song Stories

Home Song Stories Preview

Yesterday, paparazzi monkey was invited to a special preview of the movie “The Home Song Stories” starring Joan Chen and Qi Yuwu. Slated to open in Singapore on 30 August 2007, the preview was organized by the film distributor, Scorpio East Entertainment for a theatre of invited guests. Amongst the invite list, this monkey spotted a list for “TV and Theatre” and I almost thought I saw Haresh Sharma of Necessary Stage there but I could be wrong. Although I was hoping that Qi Yuwu himself would appear at the theatre, I had to make do with his many topless scenes in the movie.

But what was more interesting was the movie itself. It was actually based on Tony Ayres, the writer and director’s own life story. Despite his foreign sounding name, Tony Ayres is actually a 40something gay chinese australian writer/director. Look out for gay references or indications in the movie! They are all quite subtle I would say.

If you really hate spoilers you may want to skip the summation of Ayres’ life story below since I cannot harp on this enough but the movie is really all about his life. For those who have watched the movie already, what I offer here is an epilogue you will not get in the movie! It actually made me think and wonder a whole lot more.

Qi Yuwu, Joan Chen and Tony Ayres (l-r) in a photo taken from The Home Song Stories website

In his own words, this is an “abridged version” of his life, taken from an interview with an Australian publication, The Age in 2003:

“Ayres had a dramatic childhood, the stuff, he reluctantly admits, of melodrama. His Chinese mother was a nightclub singer, very beautiful but unstable, he says. She fell in love with an Australian sailor (Ayres’ stepfather) and migrated from Hong Kong to Australia in 1964, bringing Ayres and his sister.

She tried to kill herself a number of times, succeeding when her son was 11. Ayres’ stepfather died three years later of a heart attack, two days before he was due to remarry. The orphaned children lived with his fiancee in Perth, but she too was unstable. They were rescued by Ayres’ history teacher and his family before discovering that he was an alcoholic.

Ayres moved to Canberra to study but returned to Perth to help look after the history teacher and his children when that family split up. His sister later married the teacher. And that’s just the abridged version.

But you are not your past, emphasises Ayres, candid when asked about his childhood, but keen to quickstep it if he can. He might not be defined by, or a victim of his past, but elements of it often surface in his work.”

You can only begin to imagine where Qi Yuwu’s character comes in to play here in this melodramatic life story of Ayres.

Funnily enough, there was a collective outraged “ewww” from my group of girlfriends watching the movie when Qi Yuwu made a certain pass at one of the character. We even loudly exclaimed when a decidedly Singaporean accent comes in the form of a nurse in the movie. Trying to latch on to anything “local” we could call our own I suppose.

Photo from Blk21802‘s flickr collection

However, despite Qi Yuwu’s great popularity in Singapore and his contract with Singapore’s Mediacorp Raintree Pictures, he is actually from China. I guess I have begun to think of him as Singaporean after always seeing him on TV recently. Similarly, this year’s Star Search will feature acting hopefuls from Taiwan, China and Malaysia as well. I wonder if the Singaporeans will make it in the face of tough competition. But if you want to catch Qi Yuwu in a truly local movie, then his upcoming appearance in the movie 881 by local director Royston Tan about getai singers will probably tickle your fancy. It even opens on National Day. How patriotic *grin*

Anywho, if you are a huge fan of Qi Yuwu, here’s a collection of Qi Yuwu photos in various state of undress that I accidentally chanced upon on flickr!

Photo from Blk21802‘s flickr collection. Perhaps taken by one of his fanclub members (known as 715) – namely those girls in uniformed pink tshirt. Lucky girls!

But for those who were lucky and went for the celebrity guided tour of Zeng Fanzhi at the Singapore Art Museum recently, then you would have had the opportunity to come face to face as well as upclose and personal with the man himself. Qi Yuwu was the celebrity guide that sought to shed some light on modern Chinese contemporary expressionism art on display.

2 Comments so far

  1. Andrew (unregistered) on August 6th, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

    I just saw the movie tonight and it has to be one of the most amazing films I have ever seen. This really touched me. Tony Ayres is an amazing writer and also director.

  2. Melissa (unregistered) on August 12th, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

    I have not seen such a brilliant film in such a long time. I saw it last night at the BIFF and i did not know what to expect from it, but as it played, i was completely sucked into the story, and it was great because i am chinese Australian and it reminds me of the stories my mother tells me of when she first came to Australia over 20 something years ago…so i really connected with the story and the characters and i think Tony Ayres is a brilliant writer and director!!!

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