Everybody loves Chinese Restaurants! Catch the film series by Cheuk Kwan at Pacific Cinemateque this week!

Everybody loves Chinese Restaurants! Everybody's eaten at one.

But Cheuk Kwan loves Chinese restaurants so much, he has created a film series called Chinese Restaurants.
It is not difficult for Chinese Canadians to start getting the munchies
for some rice or noodles when travelling around the world. Like many
world travellers, sooner or later you start to crave the comfort food
that you grew up with. If you are a contemporary Canadian, sooner or
later around the world, you pop into a MacDonalds. But if you grew up
Chinese-Canadian, you pop into a Chinese Restaurant.

I have found these restaurants across Canada and the United States.
They are abundant in Toronto and Honolulu, but more rare in Needles,
California; Boise, Idaho; Provo, Utah; Sedona, Arizona, Nakusp BC…
but still they are there… and I eat there. The funny thing is that in
these small town areas, you could be the only Chinese people besides
the restaurant owners… In fact you could be the only other Chinese
person they have seen in days, weeks or months… so sometimes they try
their Chinese out on you, or they bring their children out to meet you.
“Are you Chinese?” they say…

The Chinese diaspora has spread throughout the world. Filmaker Cheuk
Kwan has travelled to Norway, Madagascar, Turkey and even tiny Outlook
Sasketchewan to tell the story about how the Chinese have settled the
world and made their contribution through Chinese restaurants. It was
with interest that I read Kevin Griffin's story in Monday's Vancouver
Sun on May 2, 2005, as he wrote about “Noisy Jim” Kook , from Outlook
Sasketchewan, profiled in “Three Continents.” I first met Noisy Jim at
Expo 86. It was my first experience with “clapper tales” the Chinese
art of story telling, or of “shop sellers” inviting people to come buy
their wares. Here in Vancouver, Dr. Jan Walls is an expert on clapper
tales. But there was something intriguing about this single elderly
wizened Chinese man, speaking in Chinese and English on the deck of
Canada Place at Expo 86. I did talk with Mr. Kook and take his picture
(I will dig into my photo boxes from 19 years ago).

Stories of Noisy Jim would resurface when I discoverd that the
woman who would become my sister-in-law, was raised in Outlook
Sasketchewan. She was surprised that I had heard her tiny hometown of
Outlook, and even more that I had met one of its most famous citizens.
It turns out that everybody in Outlook knew Noisy Jim, and Noisy Jim
knew everybody in Outlook. He sponsored the local hockey team, and
everybody at sometime, ate in his restaurant. In fact everybody loved
eating, and hanging in his restaurant… so much so that Noisy Jim
would give people the keys, so they could open the restaurant early in
the morning so he could stay in bed sleeping, while they cooked their
bacon and eggs, made coffee, paid their bills. A famous story was that
one time, Noisy Jim arrived at his restaurant to be asked “What do you
want for breakfast” by and American women, having a great time cooking
in the kitchen. She was a tourist, and she had stopped for breakfast –
only to join right in. She thought it was great.

I love Chinese restaurants. I grew up with them here in Vancouver's
Chinatown. We would frequent the old Bamboo Terrace where “Auntie
Winnie” would always give us gum, the HoHo where we would go for a
traditional Friday night dinner with family friends before shopping at
the Army & Navy or going to “Father and Son” swim nights at the
YMCA on Burrard Street, and especially the Marco Polo, where all our
family banquets would be held, and my father was the local sign writer
who painted all the show cards for the Louie Brothers who ran the
restaurant nightclub. It was a sad day, when the Marco Polo closed

I'm booking tickets for Chinese Restaurants. I'm inviting my parents, my family, my girlfriend and my sister-in-law.

Book tickets at the Pacific Cinemateque on-line or get there early when the box office opens…


Western Canada Premiere of “Three Continents” by Cheuk Kwan

( Madagasgar, Norway and Canada)

Director and Cinematographer in attendance

Q & A after screening

Location: Pacific Cinematheque

May 4th 7pm, 9pm

Chinese Restaurants: Three Continenents (first showing)

Chinese Restaurants: Song of the Exile (second showing)

May 5th 7pm, 9pm

Chinese Restaurants: Three Continenents (first showing)

Chinese Restaurants: The Islands (second showing)

May 7th, 7pm

Chinese Restaurants: Three Continenents

Location: Studio Theatre, Surrey Arts Centre

May 8th, 7pm

Chinese Restaurants: Song of the Exile

Location: Studio Theatre, Surrey Arts Centre

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