Illustrious Energy video

Illustrious Energy aka: Dreams of Home - 1988

Mirage Entertainment Corp. Ltd. - 97 min.

DVD UPC/EAN # 9418212012277

Cast: Shaun Bao, Harry Ip, Peter Chin, Geeling, Desmond Kelly, Peter Hayden, Heather Bolton.
Screenplay: Martin Edmond, Leon Narbey; Photography: Alan Locke; Production Design: Janelle Aston; Editor: David Coulson; Original Music: Jan Preston; Percussion and voices: Don McGlashan; Producers: Don Reynolds, Chris Hampson; Director: Leon Narbey.

Two poor Chinese gold miners in Otago in 1895 dream of returning home after 12 years. Chan has a wife in China, as well as a child that he has not seen. One day they find enough gold to pay their debts and return home. Chan goes to town to buy supplies and pay the debts. He encounters prejudice, religion, opium, hookers, the circus, and love (among other things). Despite a tempting offer to stay with the circus and the beautiful Li, he opts to return to his old friend so that they can fulfil their dream of returning home - things don't go as planned, however. Some rough edges, but excellent photography and soundtrack. Some dialogue problems that could have been resolved with the use of subtitles, but generally a well crafted product. Filmed near the Central Otago communities of Alexandra, Cromwell and Clyde; also some footage at or near Balclutha, Oamaru and Dunedin. Definately recommended.

Censor Rating: PG -- Review Rating: B

Illustrious Energy
Official MP4 Clip


PAL VHS new copies were last seen selling from NZ sources for about $40nz, but as of January 2011, there are no known sellers of new or used copies. There are no known NTSC VHS copies.

As of 06 April 2012, a high quality digitally re-mastered PAL R0 DVD of this film is available, selling for about $20nz. It is presented 1.85:1 with a 5.1 English soundtrack. There are no extras or subtitles.
As of April 2016, it would appear to be out-of-print.

If you reside in New Zealand, you can rent it from Aro Video, who will ship countrywide.

Alice in Videoland of Christchurch has rental copies available for New Zealand addresses


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Reviews at

Wellington Film Society Review

New Zealand Film Archive Info

TV Guide Review

IMDB User Comments

"Illustrious Energy was to begin filming in the summer of 1986 but there was a delay. The production paid for Narbey and designer Janelle Aston to continue working. 'Having a year of pre-production on Illustrious Energy was fantastic. It enabled Janelle and me to come to terms with all the locations, the props, the dialogue. We could go over it again and again and become totally familiar with all the nuances and the subtext. It was very valuable.'" - (Leon Narbey in, Douglas Jenkin, "A rare energy", NZ Listener, October 22, 1988)

"It's seemingly simple story of two impoverished miners and their sad fate, conceals a much more complex drama of human frailty and demolishes many of the myths about the Chinese way of life a century ago. It also faces up to the climate of violence and ugly prejudice that existed towards the Chinese and the ingenious way they were eventually to overcome same without sacrificing their identity [...] The production values are near flawless. Director Leon Narbey has a painter's eye for detail and the dense colour photography literally textures landscape, players and story into a single form" - (From 1988 Auckland International Film Festival programme)


North & South Review by Brian McDonnell - June 1988 - For details or copies contact Kakapo Books


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NZ On Screen Videos & Comments

"The Finest Film No-one Has Seen"

Information at the New Zealand Film Commission Website

Information at IMDB

Jan Preston - Composer - Official Website

Internet Movie Poster Awards


1988 - Taormina Film Festival: Bronze Charybdis.
Hawaii Film festival: East-West Centre Award for Best Film.
London Film Festival - Official Selection.
1988 New Zealand Listener Film and Television Awards:
Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Design, Best Music, Best Editing, Best Soundtrack,
Best Supporting Male Actor - Peter Hayden, Best Supporting Female Actor - Heather Bolton.

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