[Updated: December 17, 2016] Take Me Home is a heartbreaking, inspiring story of an English teacher in Vietnam Kye Poirrier who is left nearly disabled after a stroke. Stuck in a foreign land with no help from friends, family or the Australian embassy, he must figure his way back home for better medical care. The one silver lining to his misery is his Vietnamese friend and assistant Anh, with whose love and care life seems less of a struggle.
The 32-year-old filmmaker Louis Barber Corallo documents this story in a raw, gripping manner that touches a nerve. He makes you emphathise with Kye without resorting to contrivances. The background music is clearly used to amplify the emotional connect with the visuals but Louis never goes overboard.
Some cuts felt hurried. The camera could’ve stayed longer. Overall, though, the film leaves an impact. Mirroring life, the film evokes a wealth of emotions. It saddens, frightens, overwhelms, inspires and awakens.
So how did the idea to shoot this documentary come about? Where did Louis meet his subject?
“I met Kye about 3 years ago in Vietnam. He was one of the first expats I met when I came as a traveller. I just wanted to make friends and find a way to live in Vietnam. When he found out that I shoot, he wanted to collaborate on a documentary called Khoa’s Story. We struck up a friendship, and he seemed like a good guy – always giving me good advice, supporting me and telling me bad jokes. In the process of shooting that particular documentary, which was actually in the editing stage at that time, Kye had a massive stroke (November 2015). I had known Kye for 6 months at that point,” shares Louis.
In coma with a third of his brain dead and close to death, Kye’s doctors had said he’d never wake up. He did. They said he would never talk. He eventually did. But they were very sure he would never walk again. Two years later, Kye took his first step.
“The film has been a rewarding journey. I know it is a special story but I’ve not enjoyed making it. To edit and shoot, and watch him cry every day as I edited, was horrible,” says Louis. “But the truth is, for me, he’s a very inspiring and strong-spirited man. How on earth does he keep up his sense of humour is beyond me.”
Update: Take Me Home recently won the Best Documentary Film at the Sydney World Film Festival and the makers released it online this week.
You can watch it here:
By Mansi Dutta
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