Unjustly neglected when it first appeared in 1987, Leon Narbey's Illustrious energy was reissued in an enhanced version in 2011. After 24 years it was still the only film to describe the experience of Chinese gold miners working in central Otago. The two central characters, played by Chaun Bao and Harry Ip, have been prospecting without success for many years. Their interactions with European neighbours, and the sudden prospect of enormous wealth, are told quietly and poetically against a backdrop of the region's harshly beautiful landscape.
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Reference: Illustrious energy. Producer, Chris Hampson; writer and director, Leon Narbey; writer, Martin Edmond. Mirage Entertainment, 1987.
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