As I Open My Eyes: Music-Charged Tunisian Feature about Clash between Tradition and Progress

Set in Tunis, summer 2010, a few months before the Revolution, this music-filled, French-Tunisian production depicts the clash between culture and family as seen through the eyes of a young Tunisian woman balancing the traditional expectations of her family with her creative life, as the singer in a politically charged rock band.

Director Leyla Bouzid’s impressive feature debut offers a nuanced portrait of the implications of the Arab Spring on the lives of young people in the region, while also creating a complex story about a young woman using art to transform her reality.

Tradition is contrasted with progress in As I Open My Eyes, a musically-charged French film that follows a young woman in a band as she navigates familial, cultural, and social ideals in contemporary Tunis.

Her band—assembled of several friends and one more-than-a-friend—plays a blend of original music and covers at local bars, including men’s-only joints. For Farah (Baya Medhaffar), the young woman at the heart of the film, music transcends cultures and languages, and the lengthy musical interludes demonstrate a kind of escapism. But music too is wrapped up in the politics.

As I Open My Eyes is set at a crucial socio-political time, at the dawn of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, and Farah’s music addresses politics and issues in her home country.

Kino Lorber will open the film at New York’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on September 9, 2016, after the film’s US premiere at Tribeca and key festival dates throughout the country. A digital and home media release is set for early 2017. The deal was negotiated between Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber and Hannah Horner, from Doc&Film International.