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175 Ratings

As I Open My Eyes

À peine j'ouvre les yeux

Directed by Leyla Bouzid
France, Tunisia, 2015


Set on the eve of the Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, the first feature from director Leyla Bouzid follows an up-and-coming underground band as they are pulled in all directions by creative energy, authoritarian oppression, and rebellion.

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As I Open My Eyes Directed by Leyla Bouzid
These two films couldn’t be more different – As I Open My Eyes is a rhythmic but conventional drama, Starve Your Dog a kinetic, opaque experiment – but both portray a reflection on, and reaction against, ruling powers. While Bouzid’s film mines the recent past for a glimpse at a hopeful future, Lasri’s conversely uses the bloody past to undermine optimism by alluding to connections between the deposed regime and the current one.
September 16, 2016
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…These scenes show that Bouzid has real filmmaking talent, as do the strong performances she gets out of newcomer Medhaffer as Farah and Benali as her mother. When these two are in top form at the story’s climax, it makes you wish a strong producer had induced Bouzid to toss the coming-of-age clichés and focus the entire film on the nascent political drama that makes its latter third so much more compelling than the rest.
September 09, 2016
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Switching to the perspective of Farah’s watchful mother, Hayet (Ghalia Benali), the film briefly misplaces its confidence — it’s like the cinematography gets the jitters. Still, Bouzid and co-writer Marie-Sophie Chambon invest this side of the intergenerational gap with empathetic energy; the song of innocence becomes one of experience. This debut feature earns its grown-up wisdom without selling out its youthful idealism.
September 07, 2016
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