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Island Etude (2006)
"Lian xi qu" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  27 April 2007 (Taiwan)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 526 users  
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Travelling is always the best way to encounter true stories. Ming-Hsang, a deaf, decided to cycle around Taiwan before graduating from the college. This film, lasting for 100 minutes, ... See full summary »


(as En Chen)


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Credited cast:
Ming-hsiang Tung ...
Danny Deng ...
The Director (as An-ning Teng)
Saya ...
The Maiden Sayon - in dream sequence (as Hwei-chun Chang)
(as Teng-te Huang)
Darren ...
A-Chun (as Chun-jui Chiang)
Hsiu-hui Chen ...
A-Chun's Mother
Ruta Palionyte ...
Ruta - The Lithuanian
Chao-hsin Lin
Hsiao-shun Hsu ...
Sean Hung ...
Li-Yin Yang ...
Teacher Liu
Nien-Jen Wu ...
Tour Bus Driver
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bamboo Chu-Sheng Chen ...
(as Bamboo Chen)
Ming-Wei Kao
Yung-Feng Lee


Travelling is always the best way to encounter true stories. Ming-Hsang, a deaf, decided to cycle around Taiwan before graduating from the college. This film, lasting for 100 minutes, documents his trip which lasted 7 days and 6 nights. He camped at the beach of Tai-Ma-Li on the first evening, playing guitar. Although he has hearing problems, he is still very much interested in sounds. The next morning, he followed Tai-11 highway. He met a group of people filming MV at the east coastline. They also film him. The third day, he was on the Su-Hua highway, a highway notoriously difficult to conquer for cyclists. He met a Lithuanian girl at Han-Ben railway station. She missed the train to Hua-Lien. He helped her to get on her train by communication with her by pens and papers. Written by Yuwei Lin

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Plot Keywords:

taiwan | cycling | bicycle | guitar | deaf | See All (9) »




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Release Date:

27 April 2007 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

Estudando a Ilha  »

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Did You Know?


The film was the official representative of Taiwan to the 80th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Taiwan's national Film Board has originally selected Lust, Caution (2007) to represent the island, but when that film was disqualified on a technicality, Taiwan was given a matter of hours to select a new film - and they went with "Island Etude". See more »

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User Reviews

A movie that makes you want to experience life
12 April 2015 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

"Island Etude" isn't a movie with a traditional plot/conflict/resolution like we've come to expect from cinema. The setup is that a young man is riding his bike around the island of Taiwan, and that's where it leaves off. What follows is a series of wonderfully shot vignettes of his 7 days and 6 nights en route, meeting interesting characters, immersing himself in overlooked culture, and the real payoff: soaking in the majestic sights of land and sea as only one can experience alone. So while this film won't exactly give you a dramatic firestorm of "Amadeus" proportions, it'll certainly deliver some quiet, poetic moments that may just change your life.

Our cyclist Ming-Hsang is a young loner, alienated from society by his hearing & speech disability, who embarks on this 1200km (800mi) journey, roughly the distance from New York City to Chicago on bike. The people he meets are always welcoming, hospitable and friendly, without any malice or heavy drama. But, much like with real life travel, we can still enjoy the ride meeting odd characters, even if there aren't any chainsaw-wielding madmen or bank robberies to spice up the pot.

The people he meets include: an aspiring surrealist filmmaker, a fellow cyclist with humorous family gripes, a mysterious European supermodel, a married couple playfully bickering about ex-girlfriends, a somber grade school teacher being forced to retire, and a bizarre busload of jolly old ladies protesting economic hardships, and maybe a juvenile delinquent or two. The cross section gives us a good slice of Taiwanese culture and political issues without beating any particular agenda over our heads. Ming-Hsang remains politically and emotionally neutral, like a stranger in his own country, with the exception being one powerful moment of emotion which I won't ruin for you.

That's where my review ends because there are really no words for this unique experience. All I can say is, as my title suggests, this is the sort of film that makes you want to experience life, whether it's on a bike, in some exotic location or maybe just in your own hometown appreciating the things you've never had the presence of mind to appreciate.

There aren't many films like this, but when they do come along they are very memorable. Along with "Island Etude" I recommend "In the City of Sylvia" (about a young man who returns to a sleepy European city in search of a stranger he met six years earlier), "A Scene at the Sea" (Japanese master Takeshi Kitano's excellent, almost-silent directing debut about a deaf surfer) and my favorite traveller film, "Lisbon Story" (Wim Wenders whimsical and hauntingly musical story of a man trying to track down a lost friend in Lisbon). These films will never be Hollywood crowd pleasers, but for those times when nothing else satisfies your wanderlust, they're just what the doctor ordered.

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