Foodies and cineastes: Cinematheque to screen restoration of Japanese art-house ramen western Tampopo

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      With Vancouver's ramen rage in full swing and spreading across the city with new spots opening up like Yah Yah Ya, Kokoro Ramen, and many more, here's a timely screening of a new film restoration that is essential viewing for art-house cineastes and noodle aficionados alike.

      Juzo Itami's 1985 deliciously quirky hit film Tampopo is a Japanese take on the spaghetti western and reinvented it as the...ramen western.


      The delirous tale follows trucker Goro (Tsutomu Yamazaki) and his sidekick Gun (Ken Watanabe, who has gone to star in international blockbusters like The Last Samurai and Godzilla) as they set off on a mission to help a widow and single mother named Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto) to transform her struggling roadside ramen shop into the epitome of ramen mastery.

      The main story is interspersed with a series of sensual, strange, and amusing vignettes about food, love, and sex, ranging from an elderly grocery-store shopper with a strange compulsion to squeeze produce to a spaghetti-eating etiquette class.


      It screens at the Cinematheque (1131 Howe Street) from January 26 to 29 and on February 1 and 2.

      And don't forget to factor in a bowl of noodles before or after the screening. This might be a good time to schedule a Big Bowl Challenge sitting at the nearby Ramen Koika?

      Or you can enter the Cinematheque's Quest for the Perfect Bowl of Ramen Contest. All you have to do is share an Instagram photo of your quest to find the perfect bowl of ramen and tag @theCinematheque #vanramenquest #tampop, or regram the contest Instagram post.

      The contest runs until midnight on January 24. Winners will be selected and notified on January 25.

      Three runner-up prizes will each include two tickets to Tampopo and a free order of gyoza at either Ramen Gojiro or the Ramen Butcher.

      There will be two grand prizes: each will include two tickets to Tampopo and two bowls of ramen at either Ramen Gojiro or the Ramen Butcher.

      For full screening and contest details, visit the Cinematheque website.