Thursday, July 19, 2018

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Dragon Road, Tai Hang

Interspersed with the shots filmed in Tai Po but edited to make it look as though they are nearby is a scene filmed on Dragon Road in Tai Hang (i.e. about 20 km away on Hong Kong Island).  Dragon Road is instantly recognisable because it is one of the only streets - at least that I know of - that has such a prominent tree slap bang in the middle of the road. We get to see it from both sides as the gangsters pursue Depardieu only his stolen pedicab thingy.

The first shot is the view from the east about in line with where the Tin Hau temple would be on the right (that is the temple that the "Tin Hau" MTR station is named after). The second image looks as though it was taken from the branches of the same tree still looking west and the final image is looking back the other way (west to east). This location is right next to another I posted about in Lust Caution last year.

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Heung Sze Wui Street, Tai Po Market

We stay in Tai Po for the next few images (although I think they appear later in the chase), this time on Heung Sze Wui Street. The top image was shot from the junction with Po Heung Street looking back up towards Wan Tau Street. Actually, I am very familiar with this street because not only did I live here for the first six months of my move in 2006, but it's also where my three kids went to Kindergarten. The car crash is at the junction I just mentioned. The Tai Po Rural Committee building (second/third images - centre screen) was demolished circa 2014 to make way for a new Govt housing development called the Po Heung Estate.

In the top photo, the area behind the red flower boards was an open concrete sports ground and this is how it was when I first visited Hong Kong. I first visited in November 1995 so I think I must've missed the filming by only a few months - what a shame. Anyway, the sports ground was subsequently developed into the Tai Po Complex.

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Shung Tak Street, Tai Po Market

In the ensuing chase that started at the fake airport, the action quickly moves to Tai Po. Of course, the flow of the sequence implies that we are somewhere in Kowloon, but the actual footage was filmed in the small streets of Tai Po Market. This following shot was filmed in a place that may be familiar to a few people even if they don't realise it. It's the corner of Shung Tak Street and Yan Hing Street - directly opposite what is now the main entrance to the excellent Tai Po railway Museum. In fact this is the same view you will see when you walk down the steps from the museum entrance there. Believe it or not but that shop is still there.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Shatin Racecourse, Fo Tan

Here's one that was a bit of a surprise. The location is a stand in for the Kai Tak airport area which looks as though it was probably out of bounds for filming - understandably considering how busy the place used to get. So instead of Kai Tak airport, we get an amalgam of several places, the first is this one. It's the car park next to Shatin Race Course. The giveaway was the strange structure behind Clavier in the top image - it's one of the viewing towers that looks over the race course.

The rest of the images are shot in the car park area with views over to the construction of the Royal Ascot residential development (see in the background swathed in bamboo scaffolding and green safety netting). A quick check on Centamap confirms it was completed in 1995.

 The sequence was shot to hide the main stand which would be to the right in this lower shot, but the walkways and other structures here are still around - except for the obviously fake airport signage, of course.

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Harbour Road, Wanchai

As Depardieu takes care of business inside the Bank of Shanghai, his pursuers watch and wait from a car parked along Harbour Road. The first view is looking east towards the Great Eagle Centre from under the pedestrian link bridge connecting Central Plaza with the Exhibition centre. The second shot is looking back the other from the same point.

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Central Plaza, Wanchai

Depardieu heads to the "Bank of Shanghai" to find out what is in his dead friend's safety deposit box. The bank though is not a real bank but was in fact Central Plaza - once Hong Kong's tallest building when it was built. In fact at the time this film was made it was the tallest building in the whole of Asia! Not anymore.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Nam Ning Street, Aberdeen

After dropping his new charge off at the boys' boarding school (i.e. Penha Church in Macau), Depardieu runs outside to grab a cab to the bank (because he has his friend's safety deposit key and is about to find out why all the gangsters are after him). Some more geographical shenanigans arise when he suddenly appears back in Hong Kong and stops the cab on Nam Ning Street in Aberdeen town centre. The archway in the background marks the entrance to the commercial arcade/plaza that runs through the middle of the Aberdeen Centre residential development (it's called Aberdeen Square on Google maps).

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Penha Church, Macau

Some more Penha Church as Depardieu and his new charge manage to evade the triads by jumping over a wall and the courtyard of Penha Church. Quite an impressive feat considering the distance between Kowloon and Macau. Anyway, the priest is giving a sermon when Depardieu gatecrashes and then persuades the priest to take the boy in under his charge. This church, its courtyard and the view from it have featured in quite a few films seen on this blog over the years.

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Aberdeen Harbour, Aberdeen

After meeting his new charge, the boat is attacked by the triads. Depardieu and the boy escape by commandeering a tourist boat and then a speedboat which they use to outrun their pursuers. The action is spread out all over the harbour including the top image showing the western end with the Dairy Farm cold storage facility and its two pylons...

...over by Sham Wan with the Aberdeen Marina Club in the background...

...and next to the Jumbo Kingdom.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Ap Lei Chau Waterfront, Ap Lei Chau

When Depardieu first arrives in HK, he is taken to his friend's son who is being looked after on board a boat in Aberdeen Harbour. The area they arrive at is on Ap Lei Chau side on a section of land that has seen been redeveloped into the Municipal Services Building and the beautified waterfront. As you can see by the images, it was still a bit of a wasteland back in 1995. However, most of those taller buildings (top and bottom pictures) are still there as far as I can tell and were not affected by the redevelopment. Of course the second picture shows the view looking back across towards Aberdeen. Look closely and you will see the old Aberdeen Police Station on the hill behind the actor.

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Kai Tak Airport, Kowloon

Despite all the locations used in lieu of the real thing, there are some shots of Kai Tak Airport in this film. The first two images are from when the boys are heading back to their school/church after their day of helping out at the camp. The last image is from the end of the HK section of the film as they all head to France. I'm fairly certain all the buildings seen in the first image are still around - at least for the time being.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Nai Chung, Ma On Shan

The community work the church is doing looks like it is at a refugee camp over near Nai Chung. Now, I know there used to be a Vietnamese Refugee Camp not far away at Whitehead Point, but I'm not aware of any at this particular strip of land (it's been used for filming a couple of times before here and here) so I can only assume this was built for the purpose of this film or borrowed from another.

The land at the moment is empty so expect a massive residential development to go up there at some point as the villagers illegally sell their land to developers for mega bucks (welcome to HK!).

Little known fact: despite me listing this place as part of Ma On Shan, it's actually administratively part of Tai Po District despite being physically closer to Sai Kung. In fact, the whole of northern Sai Kung falls under the remit of Tai Po District - hence why there is a Sai Kung Rural Committee building in the centre of Tai Po!).

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Sai Kung Public Pier, Sai Kung

A quick return to Sai Kung town for the next scene involving the boys and church heading off to do some community work. They are loading up supplies on the public pier in Sai Kung (note: there are two public piers now, but the newer shorter one was only built a few years ago and wasn't around in 1995).

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Penha Church, Macau

Penha Church pops up a couple of times in the film because it is standing in as a boarding school. The first time we see it is when we are introduced to Christian Clavier's priest character who runs the school and looks after the kids. I've never been inside the church or associated buildings so can't comment on whether or not this was filmed completely on location, however, I'm including the first few images (shot on the courtyard in front of the church) to document the reclamation that was going on at the time to create the two bits of inland water Lago Sai Van and Lago Nam Van. You can see them beginning to take shape.

 And a quick look through the main doors.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Sai Kung Waterfront, Sai Kung

So, despite our poor, bloodied target being attacked on the Star (or should I say "Starr") Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui, then somehow hot-footed it up to Tai Kok Tsui whilst his pursuers follow him from another pier down in Hung Hom, he manages to find a public payphone in Sai Kung to call his buddy (Depardieu) and ask him to come to HK to look after his son. Trust me when I say this is not the most ridiculous bit of geographical artistic license seen in this film.

Anyway, he makes it to the phone booth and puts in his call just before a big truck arrives and runs him over. Look in the background to see the large dolos structure/exhibit that inhabits the waterfront at the end of Man Nin Street (you can see it on Streetview here).

Friday, July 13, 2018

Les Anges Gardiens - Gerard Depardieu (1995) - Hung Hom Ferry Pier, Hung Hom

Despite the fact that our victim departs the ferry at Tai Kok Tsui, the hoodlums chase after him but are filmed outside another ferry pier - this time in Hung Hom. I have no idea why they couldn't have filmed it all in one place. Anyway, in the background of this shot we can quite clearly make out the two-tier ferry pier at Hung Hom with a Star Ferry berthed behind it. Sadly, this particular route is no longer in operation which is a big shame considering how much more vibrant this area has become.