Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bamboo in Winter - Crystal Kwok (1991) - Sha Lo Tung, Tai Po

I hadn't heard of this film until Neil Macdonald got in touch and was kind enough to share his memories of the various productions he worked on whilst in Hong Kong (you can read about them here). Anyway, this film was funded by a Christian group and it's basically a religious story about a Chinese girl (played by Crystal Kwok) who find religion and helps her dad rediscover his despite the general nastiness of the local Chinese commies.

Roy Chiao plays the father in this and apparently lent his services free of charge because he was a devout Christian. Some other familiar faces crop up including Dennis Chan and Stuart Ong, both of whom have featured several times before in various productions covered by this blog.

The village which features as the main filming location throughout the film is in fact the (now) relatively abandoned Sha Lo Tung just north of Tai Po town centre. It's well worth a visit of you get the chance and I went hiking there a few years ago. I don't have exact matches for the various screen grabs but there are a few that show similar landmarks.

You can see some of the village buildings below (the one centre right below is the same one that is on the left in the screen shot above) but as you can see, many of the abandoned buildings have since collapsed. Part of the reason is neglect, but I understand that a development company has bought the land in this area and wants to open a spa and golf course, so deliberate vandalism is also a possibility. Although the whole area is referred to as Sha Lo Tung, the actual village in question is one of several and is called Cheung Uk.

At the top of the service road that leads from Ting Kok Road to the village is a rain shelter that is also seen on film, albeit in much better condition back in 1991.

The whole place is located on what is basically a large plateau that sits in the mountains in Tai Po. The scenery is actually quite stunning and several hiking routes cross the area including the Wilson Trail and the Tai Po Country Trail. It's not quite the same angle but you can see a reasonable match between the film still and my own picture at the bottom. These hills are all inside the Pat Sin Leng Country Park.

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