Toronto On My Mind
Since I spend the greater percentage of my life driving -- can you believe that in LA, you have to drive to walk? -- I listen to more NPR than anyone who isn't a 60-year-old, tote-bag-carrying lesbian... which I actually might be underneath this butch exterior. This is probably why I was so attracted to The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, a documentary which should rightfully have ended with the words, "I'm Nina Totenberg, and you're listening to All Things Considered." In other words: best movie ever.
The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World is about... really, you're going to make me say it? And since I have become fairly obsessed with the documentary genre in the past few years (I've lost friends trying to make them see a movie about credit card debt with me and actually deigning to be surprised when they decline), it was great to see our first-ever documentary at TIFF.
The main focus of The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World is owner Qin Linzi, a feisty lady and self-made millionaire. She oversees the hundreds of managers, chefs, waitresses, and dishwashers who run the West Lake restaurant in China's Hunan Province. And before you decide to get all daring and travel to West Lake on an upcoming, soul-searching visit to rural China, you should first see the film and judge whether you would enjoy any of the delicacies. I know it's a cliché to say that genuine Chinese food probably wouldn't appeal to the average American palate, but trust me when I say there is no chicken and broccoli combination plate available for purchase at the biggest Chinese restaurant in the world. Instead, there is a plate of cut-up snakes which are so freshly killed they continue to wriggle when they are brought to the table. But hey, at least they're covered in sauce.