Monday, January 14

Video from inside Kowloon Walled City

A quick post today following up on my previous effort to make sense of Kowloon Walled City. The first video surfaced on YouTube about 6 months ago. It was apparently filmed in 1990, what would have been 2 years before the city's demolition. This is truly amazing footage, I don't think anything else like it exists. You'll find a quick guide below the video.

0.00 - 0.50 | Kowloon Walled City at a block or two away
0.50 - 6.04 | Street life on the shell of the city
6.04 - 7:49 | Cutting a straight path beneath the city
7.49 - 9.04 | Re-emergence and more from the street

The next clip comes, surprisingly enough, from the Jean-Claude Van Damme fighter flick Bloodsport (1988). It's a 2 minute 20 second clip, of which the last 1 minute 40 seconds are are shot on location within the Walled City. It's kind of an airbrushed version of the clip above.

If anybody has any other resources on Kowloon Walled City that I haven't previously covered on BLYGAD before, do share!

Friday Photography | Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon City is featured in Ron Fricke's Baraka (1992), see stills here. Thanks Fred!


fred said...

Hey Colin,

There is an amazing film from 1992 called "Baraka" with scenes of Kowloon Walled City. I don't see "Baraka" referenced anywhere in your blog, but it is a must see film. For film stills check out this link:


Colin said...


Baraka is one of my favorites, but I had no idea it featured Kowloon Walled City! Thanks for the tip, I'll update the post :)


John said...

Colin - I share your deep interest in KWC. Besides being the author of the Twenty4 page you linked to previously (updated version on my server here), I've picked up every book I've found on the place. Of course there's City of Darkness, but also a book of b/w photos by Ryuji Miyamoto, and a couple books I found in Japan, one that I briefly reviewed here. The other book I found in Japan is an amazing large-format book with fold-out pages that featured painstakingly rendered sections, plans and other drawings, as well as photos documenting the place right before demolition. It's all in Japanese so I don't know the details, but I'll try to find the information on that as the images themselves are an amazing resource.

My updated piece on KWC linked above has some additional links in the biblio worth checking out, though here's a couple others not listed: SkyscraperPage forum has 9 pages as of today, and I just came across this PDF with a history of the place. Don't know the book it's from and haven't read it yet, but it appears to be a pre-WWII-era history.

fred - Baraka sounds good, even if it sounds like a rehash of Koyaanisqatsi (sp?). Nevertheless it looks like one to check out. Thanks for sharing.

curious ape said...

There was a great article about it in a Giant Robot issue, the title was: "the human habitrail"
which pretty much sums it up.
I also recommend a 1988 german documentary called Kowloon the walled city, it goes deep into the city, and films the various shops and businesses.
many food businesses that just look has to be seen to be believed.
This documentary is available thru torrents/ donkey/mule.

Ryan said...

Thanks for the video as well as the info and pictures on BLYGAD. I have been scouring the Net to find anything and everything on KWC since hearing about it a year ago.

I believe there are a few video snips from Jackie Chan's Police Story floating around that was filmed in KWC but I have not had any luck finding the German documentary that curious ape mentioned. Baraka waiting for me at home so I guess I will have something to watch in the meantime.

I find myself growing increasingly saddened by the fact that this way of life has been snuffed out, lost for the most part except for a few sites with pictures, a few pieces of video, etc. No "street maps", no "floor plans"...there's so much that will never be known about this area.

Would KWC still be standing today if there was a 150 year lease on Hong Kong by the British? Did the Chinese act correctly when they realized that this "slum" was back under their control and no longer someone elses problem? So many questions that I wish could be answered.

Thanks again! This has really opened my eyes to a way of life that I had no idea existed.

orbust said...

Thanks for posting what you've found about Kowloon city and thanks to all of your previous comment leavers for posting equally helpful links.

Anonymous said...

There was a documentary made by Christina Wesemann in the eighties for the Austrian TV. I do not know whether any copies still exist

Aveletrian said...

I have a copy of what I believe to be the German documentary mentioned above, it's about half an hour long and explores several of the city's business and apartments. I can upload it if anyone wants

Colin said...

Aveletrian, please do! That'd be a great resource to share and I'd love to do a new post about Kowloon City!

Scelsi said...

Part 1 of the documentary is up, I'll be putting the others up over the next few days.