As I Open My Eyes

Tunisia | 2015 | 102 minutes | Leyla Bouzid

On the eve of the Jasmine Revolution, a young Tunisian woman must balance the expectations of her family, who would love to see her go to medical school, with her creative life as a singer in a politically charged rock band that is just beginning to get noticed.

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On the eve of the 2010 uprising that toppled Tunisia's longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Farah is going through some turmoil of her own. Her family is thrilled that she's been accepted to medical school, but Farah would rather study music. The lead singer in a politically charged rock band that's just beginning to get noticed, she's enthralled by the success of their first few gigs. Meanwhile her mother, Heyet, sees something of her rebellious younger self in her daughter and, recognizing the dangers to which Farah is oblivious, is determined to protect her. But the fact is there are limits to the protection she can offer, as well as larger questions about the insidious way that regimes enlist people in their own oppression. In the six years since the Jasmine Revolution, fictional reenactments of the events that catalyzed the Arab Spring have come into their own; Leyla Bouzid's impressive debut, featuring a captivating performance by Baya Medhaffer as Farah and a fantastic soundtrack that fuses traditional Arab mezwed music with pop, is a powerful coming-of-age story that's also about the awakening of a nation.

Director Biography
Leyla Bouzid was born in 1984 and grew up in Tunis. In 2003 she went to Paris to study French literature at the Sorbonne and film directing at the Femis School. As I Open My Eyes is her first feature film.

Sponsored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Emirates

  • Original Language Title: A peine j’ouvre les yeux
  • Director: Leyla Bouzid
  • Principal Cast: Baya Medhaffer, Ghalia Benali, Montassar Ayari, Aymen Omrani, Lassaad Jamoussi
  • Country: Tunisia, France, Belgium, United Arab Emirates
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 102 minutes
  • Producer: Sandra Da Fonseca, Imed Marzouk
  • Screenplay: Leyla Bouzid, Marie-Sophie Chambon
  • Cinematographers: Sebastien Goepfert
  • Editors: Lilian Corbeille
  • Music: Khyam Allami
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Dubai International Film Festival 2015 (Best Fiction Film), Venice International Film Festival 2015 (People’s Choice Award, Europa Cinemas Label Award)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Kino Lorber
  • International Sales: Doc & Film International