A Taiwanese film that effectively shows the beauty of Taiwan, Taiwan's official entry to the Academy Awards is definitely more worthy than its "substitute" status. When looking back to the summer of 2007, Island Etude may be remembered as the directorial debut of famed cinematographer En Chen (who worked on Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's classics City of Sadness and Good Men, Good Women), or as the highest-grossing Taiwanese film of the year. However, Ang Lee's Lust, Caution then came along and changed everything; not only did the espionage drama take over as Taiwan's highest-grossing Chinese film of the year, it got rejected by the Academy Awards for "not being Taiwanese enough", leaving Island Etude to become Taiwan's official entry to the 2008 Oscars. Despite its "substitute status", Island Etude is actually the perfect choice to represent the island nation: it's a beautifully-shot homage to the island's people, its sights, and the sport of bicycle riding that is thankfully free of any political views or pretentious art-house technique.First-time actor Tung Ming-Hsiang plays Ming, a young college student whose lifelong hearing problem causes him to communicate via slurred speech. Carrying a guitar on his back and lacking few concrete reasons, he decides to bike around the island of Taiwan by himself months before his college graduation...
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