Cheuk Kwan's Chinese Restaurants

Went to see Chinese Restaurants: Three Continents, the third of five films where the producer/director Cheuk Kwan goes around the world and recounts the lives of Chinese diaspora members from the perspective of the restaurants they own. In every city, little town out of nowhere, there is a Chinese restaurant. Mr Kwan, an engineer by training, left his job ("mid-life crisis") to focus on his project, which took him to fifteen different countries.

The three countries featured in this film were Madagascar, Norway and Canada. I was particularly interested in the Madagascar one, because my dad was born there and grew up there. Many of the familiar places my father told me about are described in the episode, the very long staircase going up the hill in Tananarive and which my dad escalated twice every schoolday, and a Chinese school opened by Chinese business people (it could've been the one my grandpa helped funding - but then the one in the movie was built in the 40s).

And the colourful Jim Chow from Outlook, SK, Canada, had one of the most interesting answers when asked whether he considered himself Chinese or Canadian: "I am myself". And my own "myself" is probably in a constant state of flux, with varying amounts of pull and push, of resisting, of letting go.

A heck of a series, and if I had $100 to fork out for the DVD set, I would (if it were just half of this, I definitely would - hey, it has it all: diasporic identity, immigration stories, Chinese food - from that-which-fools-gweilo and fusion flavours!). Available at the NFB centre on St-Denis x Ste-Cath in Montreal (first time I go there - and it basically has a couple of screening rooms almost as large as Ex-Centris' smallest, and half a floor with multimedia viewing stations, and that cool robotic film selection thing).

My uncles went back to Mada, but my dad did not (he dislikes travelling to non-resort places, just like my brother - therefore hasn't been back to HK since getting married... I hope for him that he will find some time to join my mother and brother there, or at least in SH, BJ) and brought back pics and film I believe, and I should inquire about these next time I get to speak with them...


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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on May 7, 2006 7:46 PM.

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