Tremont Mail

Let This Film "speak" for Itself

MOVIE REVIEW
As I Open My Eyes (À peine j'ouvre les yeux)

Unrated -     

Genre: Drama, Music
Year Released: 2015
Runtime: 1h 42m
Director(s): Leyla Bouzid
Writer(s): Leyla Bouzid, Marie-Sophie Chambon
Cast: Baya Medhaffar, Ghalia Benali, Montassar Ayari
Language: Arabic, French w/English subtitles
Where To Watch: Available to view here OVID.tv


RAVING REVIEW: AS I OPEN MY EYES is a stunning work of art that showcases the power of filmmaking to convey the complexities of a moment. Winning critical acclaim at the prestigious Venice Film Festival, this debut feature by Leyla Bouzid is a tour-de-force that illuminates the tumultuous landscape of Tunisia in the lead-up to the Jasmine Revolution of 2010. The film explores the atmosphere of fear and oppression under the rule of the former President, where anyone perceived as a threat was intimidated.


At the center of the story is Farah, a young woman who defies the norms of society as a medical student and musician in a rebellious rock band. With a captivating smile and hypnotic movements, Baya Medhaffar's portrayal of Farah brings energy and life to the screen. The film skillfully intertwines the political with the personal, providing a feminist perspective on the challenges faced by women in Tunisia and the Arab world. It has to be mentioned that the singing in the film is beyond powerful; you can feel it in your soul.

Ghalia Benali's portrayal of Farah's mother, Hayet, is a masterclass in acting. Her emotionally charged performance as a mother searching for her daughter is a testament to the universal love and fear of parenthood. The cinematography captures the vibrant energy of Farah's performances. It contrasts it with the darker side of her reality, offering a glimpse into the not-often-seen side of the city.

AS I OPEN MY EYES is a powerful and nuanced reflection on the intergenerational struggles faced by women in Tunisia and the Arab world. The film's climax is heart-wrenching and leaves the audience to imagine Farah's future in the aftermath of the political turmoil. Bouzid's direction and the performances of Medhaffar and Benali are outstanding.

For more reviews and my YouTube channel, please visit linktr.ee/Overlyhonestmoviereviews

Follow me on Letterboxd, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Find my social media accounts on most platforms simply by searching Overly Honest Movie Reviews.

I’m always happy to hear from my readers; please say hi or send me any questions about movies.

[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER/SHELLAC]