As I Open My Eyes

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As I Open My Eyes
As I Open My Eyes poster.png
Film poster
Directed by Leyla Bouzid
Produced by Sandra da Fonseca
Written by Leyla Bouzid
Marie-Sophie Chambon
Starring Baya Medhaffer
Music by Khyam Allami
Cinematography Sébastien Goepfert
Edited by Lilian Corbeille
Distributed by Shellac
Release date
  • 5 September 2015 (2015-09-05) (Venice)
  • 23 December 2015 (2015-12-23) (France)
  • 13 January 2016 (2016-01-13) (Tunisia)
Running time
102 minutes
Country France
United Arab Emirates
Language Tunisian Arabic
Box office $50,656[1][2]

As I Open My Eyes (French: À peine j'ouvre les yeux) is a 2015 French-Tunisian drama film directed by Leyla Bouzid. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[3] Baya Medhaffar stars as a teenage rock singer. The film is Bouzid's first feature. It was selected as the Tunisian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.[4] However, the film was not included on the final list of submissions published by the Academy.[5]


In Tunisia in the summer of 2010 18 year old Farah Kallel wraps up school exams and prepares to enter university to study musicology. In the meantime she has joined a band and is secretly dating the lute player, Borhène. Unbeknownst to Farah her band is already being watched by the police for their songs that are critical of the government. Farah's mother, Hayet (Ghalia Benali) receives a visit from an old friend, Moncef, who warns her of the police involvement and warns her to watch her daughter which Hayet tries to do. However the night of their first gig Farah locks her mother in her room and escapes to play the gig. The performance goes well giving Farah confidence.

After several more gigs however, Borhène arrives at a rehearsal having been interrogated and beaten by the police all night. He accuses Ali, the band's manager who has been taping all of their performances, of being a cop and informing on the band. Later Ali approaches Farah and tells her he has been protecting her and tries to warn her further but she ignores him.

Going to a bus station, on the way to visit her father, Farah goes missing. Hayet tries everything to locate her but eventually realizes that Farah has been taken by the police. She goes to Borhène who tries to convince her that they should get publicity to force the police to release Farah, but decides to go a different way, contacting Moncef who tells her where Farah is located.

In prison meanwhile Farah has been beaten and sexually assaulted. She is eventually released to her parents, but sinks into a deep depression, quitting her band.



The film received positive reviews upon its release. It holds a 100% fresh ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.5 average rating.[6] The critic for Variety called it an "impressive debut" and called Medhaffer's acting "a stand-out lead perf".[7] A critic for Indiewire gave the film a score of A- and called it "the Best Fictional Film Yet About the Arab Spring"[8] The Hollywood Reporter was less enthused about the film criticizing its "mostly familiar notes" but praising the cinematography and acting.[9]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
Quebec City Film Festival[10] Cinema Lovers Award Won
Lumières Awards[11] Most Promising Actress Baya Medhaffar Nominated
Best French-Language Film Nominated
Magritte Awards[12] Most Promising Actress Ghalia Benali Nominated
Best Foreign Film in Coproduction Nominated
Venice International Film Festival[13] BNL People's Choice Award Won
Europa Cinemas Label Award (Venice Days) Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'As I Open My Eyes' (2016)". Boxofficemojo. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "As I Open My Eyes (À peine j'ouvre les yeux)". The Numbers. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Sandra Bullock's 'Our Brand Is Crisis,' Robert Redford's 'Truth' to Premiere at Toronto". Variety. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Officiel : 'A peine j'ouvre les yeux' de Leyla Bouzid représentera la Tunisie aux Oscars 2016". Tuniscope. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "85 Countries In Competition For 2016 Foreign Language Film Oscar". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "As I Open My Eyes (À peine j'ouvre les yeux)". Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  7. ^ WEISSBERG, JAY. "Film Review: 'As I Open My Eyes'". Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Aftab, Kaleem. "Venice Review: 'As I Open My Eyes' is the Best Fictional Film Yet About the Arab Spring". Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  9. ^ van Hoeij, Boyd. "'As I Open My Eyes' ('A peine j'ouvre les yeux'): Venice Review". Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Festival de cinéma de la ville de québec". Festival de cinéma de la ville de québec (in French). Retrieved 17 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "Prix Lumières 2016 : Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse et Mustang en tête des nominations". AlloCiné. 4 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "Magritte du Cinéma: "Les premiers les derniers" et "Keeper" sont favoris". La Libre Belgique (in French). 10 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Palmares 2015". Venice Days. 

External links[edit]