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Island Etude (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3

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Island Etude (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Noted Taiwanese cinematographer, photographer, and CM director En Chen makes his feature film debut with Island Etude. Armed with over twenty years of varied experience in the film industry, Chen is perhaps best known for his brilliant cinematography work for Hou Hsiao Hsien's A City of Sadness, and his eye for visuals is apparent in the beautifully shot Island Etude. Following the round-island bike trip of a youth with hearing impairment, the film vibrantly captures the natural beauty and many faces of Taiwan. On the long road between the cities lies a hardy Taiwan, rich in culture and character, that only locals see. Heartwarming, inspiring, and thoroughly engaging, Island Etude is an ode to Taiwan and to the relentless human spirit. Newcomer Tung Ming Hsiang, who is deaf in real life, lights up the screen with his charismatic performance. The film also features singer Saya Chang, Darren Chiang, Wu Nian Zhen, Defu Hu, and Liu Hong.

On the eve of graduation, a college student (Tung Ming Hsiang) who has hearing loss decides to take a bicycle trip around Taiwan. Starting from the southern city of Kaohsiung with a pack and guitar on his back, he follows the coastline, encountering both friendship and hardship on his seven-day trip. From a film crew to a lost foreign biker to a woman off to see her grandmother, he meets many interesting people on the road, opening his eyes to himself and the island he calls home.

© 2007-2022 Ltd. All rights reserved. This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Technical Information

Product Title: Island Etude (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version) 單車環島日誌練習曲 (DVD) (單碟版) (台灣版) 单车环岛日志练习曲 (DVD) (单碟版) (台湾版) 單車環島日誌 練習曲 (台湾版) Island Etude (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)
Artist Name(s): Yang Li Yin (Actor) | Easton Tung (Actor) | Hsu Hsiao Shun | Wu Nien Jen | Saya Chang | Ara Kimbo | Da Lun 楊麗音 (Actor) | 東明相 (Actor) | 許效舜 | 吳 念真 | Saya (張惠春) | 胡德夫 | 達倫 杨丽音 (Actor) | 东明相 (Actor) | 许效舜 | 吴 念真 | Saya (张惠春) | 胡德夫 | 达伦 楊麗音(ヤン・リーイン) (Actor) | 東明相 (イーストン・ドン) (Actor) | 許效舜(シュー・シャオシュン) | 呉念真(ウー・ニェンチェン) | 張惠春(サヤ・チャン) Saya | 胡徳夫(キンボ) | 達倫(ダレン) Yang Li Yin (Actor) | Easton Tung (Actor) | Hsu Hsiao Shun | Wu Nien Jen | Saya Chang | Ara Kimbo | Da Lun
Director: Chen Huai En 陳懷恩 陈怀恩 陳懷恩(チェン・ホァイエン) Chen Huai En
Release Date: 2007-10-18
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong, Taiwan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 109 (mins)
Publisher: Warner Home Video (TW)
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1005081011

Product Information

* Screen Format: 16:9
* Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
* Special Features:
- 導演與監製隨片講評 (中文字幕)


威尼斯金獅獎【悲情城市】資深攝影師陳懷恩 導演處女作


Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Island Etude (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)"

December 6, 2007

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. Along the way, he enjoys the kindness of strangers, such as a music video crew, a temperamental young man whose parents are going through a divorce, a bus driver who often drives old factory workers to continue their long years of protests, and even a fellow biker who's doing the same trip in a different direction. On the other hand, sometimes he is able to help others, like a Lithuanian model looking for a train and a group of graffiti artists. Like the film's Chinese title - translated as "Practice Song" - suggests, during his journey, Ming gradually learns more about the multi-faceted societies of Taiwan while also learning a little bit more about himself.

Being a cinematographer, Chen delivers a striking vision of Taiwan that is a highlight of Island Etude. The screenwriter/director/cinematographer has said that the idea for the film came from when he was making a promotional video for the country's tourist board, during which he met a young man doing the island bike trip. That would explain why the film sometimes does play like an extended promotional video for tourism. However, what is surprising about Island Etude is how well-paced it is. Without any artistic pretensions, the film simply moves from one episode to another, engaging audiences with the diversity of the people Ming encounters. These people cover many of Taiwan's different facets, such as the disintegrating nuclear family, superstitions, scorned workers, and of course, the arts. Blurring the line between fictional narrative and documentary, Chen simply portrays them with no opinions about their current state as if saying, "This is Taiwan. Love it for what it is".

While most films of a similar formula would push for some type of dramatic momentum to drive Ming's journey, a key to Island Etude's success is its simplicity. Ming never gives any real reason for his trip other than that he would never be able to do it if he doesn't seize the chance now, and he simply leaves it at that. While it's no surprise that Ming will finish his journey, the end of the journey still doesn't give any real reason or any substantial material reward for finishing it other than internal satisfaction. As much as it sounds like a cliché, the audience is left to focus on the journey rather than the destination, making the film's ability to engage audiences all the more surprising.

It's a shame that Island Etude can only play second fiddle to Lust, Caution in the awards arena; it's a shining example of national cinema that can convey the beauty of a nation without concerning itself with any politics or delivering any heavy-handed messages - though the film does feature a short voiceover about the environment towards the end. It's also a film that can inspire nationalism without extolling blind patriotism or radical beliefs. Instead, it simply captivates both local and international viewers with stunning images and interesting situations. With a simple message as "love your land", Island Etude doesn't strive for much, but it ends up accomplishing so much more.

By Kevin Ma

Editor's Pick of "Island Etude (DVD) (Single Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)"

Picked By Sanwei
See all this editor's picks

January 31, 2008

Around Taiwan in Seven Days
When I was living in Taiwan, one of my big plans was to take a round-island trip. Unfortunately, it simply never happened, so now I can only live vicariously through Island Etude. The directorial debut of A City of Sadness cinematographer En Chen, the eminently enjoyable Island Etude follows a hearing-impaired young man's one-week bike circuit of Taiwan. Starting and ending at the southern port city of Kaohsiung, the film has all the romanticism of a traditional road movie, and leading man Tung Ming Hsiang paints some inspiring imagery as he huffs along on a scrappy bike, with a pack and guitar on his back. As expected, the film is comprised of random encounters and episodes that seem to add to greater meaning, but Island Etude serves only the charm and spares us the summation, never feeling the need to pull grand reasons and revelations over the audience. Instead, the protagonist's trip begins and ends in simplicity, and the magic truly lies in the journey.

Hearing-impaired in real life, Tung Ming Hsiang is a complete newcomer to film, but never for a moment in Island Etude do you feel he's not the best man for the job. With an easy smile and an affable, easygoing charisma, Tung provides the hardy physical and spiritual anchor for the film as he and his bike whiz past Taiwan's beautiful coastline. Tung has a very natural screen presence, and he reacts to his environment and mini adventures in a directly subtle manner. There is no palpable method to his acting, as he seems to just absorb and react as his trip progresses, making it easy for viewers to identify with his character.

Surely something connected with the audience anyway as Island Etude turned out to be the big surprise hit of 2007, finishing only behind Lust, Caution and Secret in the Taiwan box office for local films, and outgunning more high-profile contenders like Blood Brothers and Spider Lilies. Then again, maybe it's not so surprising considering that Island Etude is a film that belongs undeniably to Taiwan. The island looks beautiful onscreen in all its variations, from picturesque coastal landscapes to well-worn provincial residences, but the emphasis lies on the roads in between and the encounters they make possible. Other recent local features like Fishing Luck and The Most Distant Course have also provided peeks at Taiwan cultures and locales, but Island Etude does it most affectionately, reaching out to the island's many roots and faces. Also of note is the film's wonderful music which harks to the island's aboriginal folk roots, and both the soundtrack and the film get a lift from the presence of aboriginal folk icon Kimbo Hu.

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

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