AS I OPEN MY EYES / A peine j’ouvre les yeux


West Coast Premiere • Drama • France, 2015

DCP • 1.85 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 102 min

Directed by: Leyla Bouzid

Written by: Leyla Bouzid, Marie-Sophie Chambon

Cinematography: Antoine Marteau

Film Editing: Lilian Corbeille

Original Score: Khyam Allami

Produced by: Blue Monday Productions

Cast: Baya Medhaffer (Farah), Ghalia Benali (Hayet), Montassar Ayari (Bohrène)

International Sales: Doc & Film International

U.S. distributor: Kino Lorber •


It’s the summer of 2010, the eve of the Arab Spring. Tunisia heaves under the ever-watchful regime of dictator Ben Ali; revolution is in the air. Exuberantly breathing in that air is Farah, a bright high school grad eager to explore the fresh possibilities of young adulthood. Her mother, Hayet (renowned singer Ghalia Benali), is pressuring her to go to medical school, but Farah has more intriguing offers. She’s the singer in an underground band, and dabbling in matters of love and sex with fellow musician, Bohrene. Farah’s fearless feminist stance and the band’s lyrics challenge the status quo, so when Hayet receives a warning from an old friend in the Interior Ministry, she is determined to make Farah understand the very real dangers of her growing political convictions. A bittersweet coming of age drama, not only for its impetuous protagonist, but also for Tunisia, a country coming of age after its own rebellious spree ended without the freedoms that many of its youthful protesters had hoped for.

After taking top honors at the 2015 Dubai International Film Festival, this French-Tunisian co-production from writer/director Leyla Bouzid went on to receive the Label Europa Cinemas prize at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. Tunisian born Bouzid studied film at La Fémis in Paris. After a few short films, she turned her attention to Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, a rich source of inspiration for her debut feature. From this starting point, Bouzid and her French co-screenwriter Marie-Sophie Chambon were able to create a complex mother-daughter relationship that mirrors the social forces at play in the country as a whole. Music was another critical component in the film, so Bouzid enlisted Iraqi musician/composer Khyam Allami to write the band’s songs.



“A film with heart and passion, one that can color one's dreams and inspire one's days.”

– E. Nina Rothe, Huffington Post

“…skillfully conjures the pressure-cooker atmosphere lying just below Tunisia’s surface during the waning days of the dictatorship.”

– Jay Weissberg, Variety