'Island Etude' - Movie Review

A Taiwanese movie from 2012 about a young man with very bad hearing heading out on a bike right around the island of Taiwan. It's very low budget, and seems to mostly be an effort to show off the culture of the island, couched as the kind of oddball stories you encounter when you travel. He encounters a directionless young biker, and ends up staying a night at his house - where he finds out just how messed up the man's family life is. He helps a young Lithuanian woman figure out what train to take, without ever speaking the same language. He meets - a couple times - a movie crew making a fantastically ridiculous-sounding movie. He visits his grandparents, and walks with his grandfather in a religious ceremony as a goddess is moved. He spends a night at a school, and talks to a retiring teacher. He meets a group of retired women on a discount bus tour. And he meets another bicyclist doing an around-the-island tour, whose best friend and cycling buddy had died a couple years prior. And when he gets home, the director of the weird movie gets in touch and says he wants to do a movie about the cyclist's trip around the island - closing the loop and making the movie painfully self-referential.

The movie is surprisingly charming, and an interesting tour of the country of Taiwan. The cinematography is intermittently excellent, although the rest of the time quite pedestrian. Not particularly gripping, and I don't think I'd ever want to revisit it.