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Scouting For Zebras.
Who Am I — No System Is Safe.

From dramatised accounts of true stories to wildlife thrills, the European Union Film Festival has a diverse range of offerings, writes Subhadra Devan

THE 17th edition of the European Union Film Festival is back with 21 movies come Oct 20, and includes the John Lennon-inspired Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.

Spain’s 2013 Oscar submission for the foreign-language section, the title of the movie is from The Beatles’ song Strawberry Fields Forever, which John Lennon wrote while he was in Almeria, Spain, while acting in Richard Lester’s How I Won The War in 1966.

Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed is based on the true story of a teacher who went to Almeria to ask Lennon to make corrections in his notebook.

The teacher, Juan Carrán Gañán, used to listen to Radio Luxembourg and would write down the lyrics of their songs, as he heard them. But he couldn’t get the lyrics from the Revolver album right as they had begun to use more psychedelic words. When they met, the teacher gave Lennon the notebook and he corrected the lyrics and filled in the gaps.

In the movie, the teacher and die-hard Beatles fan Antonio is played by Javier Cámara. On the ride to Almeria, he picks up two young hitch-hikers, Juanjo (Francesc Colomer) and Belén (Natalia de Molina).

It’s a good-hearted offering, winning six Goya awards, with music scoring by veteran jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and double-bass great Charlie Haden.

Here are some of the other movies:


Wildlife enthusiasts will love Austria’s Brothers Of The Wind (2015).

A soaring tale of hope and discovery, the narrative is about a boy, Lukas, and an eagle chick. Lukas has to put up with a distraught father who has withdrawn since the loss of his wife. The little eagle was shoved out of the nest because the first-born chick is stronger. But fate intervenes and the chick is found by Lukas. A bond starts as Lukas finds companionship denied to him at home. But things get complicated when the day comes to release Abel back into the wild.

The movie has two of the world’s most acclaimed directors and cinematographers in the realm of wildlife and extreme sports films — Otmar Penker (wildlife director) and Gerald Salmina (wildlife producer).


The award-winning offerings include a hacker’s delight from Germany, Who Am I - No System Is Safe. A 2014 Toronto International Film Festival review says director Baran bo Odar infuses the narrative with an energetic, fast-paced feel.

The story concerns a young computer geek (Tom Schilling’s Benjamin) joining a crew of daredevil hackers and sets out to affect radical change within corporations and the government. Teenagers will love this movie.


Standing Tall from France, a Cèsar 2016 award-winning movie, offers an inside look at France’s enlightened treatment of disadvantaged at-risk youths. Directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, it’s about a juvenile court judge and a teacher who try to help a young boy, Malony (played by Rod Paradot). The latter won the French Academy Award as the most promising actor for his portrayal. It also stars Catherine Deneuve.


From Hungary comes Children of Glory, a movie that marks the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The story is about the Hungarian water polo team who faces off against the Russians at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne in what will become known as one of the bloodiest matches in the sport’s history.


Les Rayures Du Zebre (Scouting For Zebras, PG13) is directed by Benoît Mariage. This is about a football agent, whose specialty is scouting out promising African players. When he discovers a potential candidate, he takes him to Belgium to make a champion out of him.


Sei Mai Stata Sulla Luna? (Have You Ever Been On The Moon? PG13)

Directed by Paolo Genovese, a successful fashion journalist inherits a farm in deep southern Italy. She goes there to sell it, but not all goes as planned.


Carte Blanche (PG13) is directed by Jacek Lusinski. It follows a middle-aged high-school history teacher, who starts to lose his eyesight. The medical diagnosis leaves no hope. Initially heartbroken, he attempts to hide his health problems from the outside world.

The rest of the movies include Czech Republic’s Vratnè lahve (Empties), Denmark’s Klumpfisken (The Sunfish), Netherlands’s FINN, Sweden’s Unga Sophie Bell (Young Sophie Bell), Romania’s Comoara (The Treasure), Switzerland’s Heidi, Ireland’s Silence, and British documentary Dreams Of A Life.

Catch the 17th European Union Film Festival at selected Golden Screen Cinemas outlets in the Klang Valley (Oct 20-30), George Town (Nov 3-9), Kuching (Nov 17-23) and Kota Kinabalu (Dec 1-7).


For screening schedules and details, visit

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