Film is a powerful medium to convey certain ideas or situations in a sensitive and subtle way to others. It can open eyes because it shines light on the dark past of a country (for example The Act of Killing ) or results in changes (such as Blackfish). In recent years there were several revolutions in various countries in the Middle East. Not all of them have achieved the desired result, but it has showed the world how powerful it can be when everyone speaks up. Tunisia also belonged to those countries and it is the place where this film takes place, on the eve of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.
Farah (Baya Medhaffer) is 18 and has just completed her high school. She secretly sees Bohrène (Montassar Ayari), an ud player in her band which usually plays covers, but slowly has also started making more daring, underground music. The lyrics are provocative and in the Tunisia of 2010 enough reason to watch out, because you can be arrested for them. Farah, however, is undaunted, even though her overprotective mother (Ghalia Benali) is forcing her to stop. As a young woman wants Farah wants to develop and express herself as she likes, but is that really a wise thing to do?
In a subtle way As I Open My Eyes shows you Tunisia´s culture. You see how women are looked at and the dangers of standing out. Besides that this is also a movie about young love, creativity, trust and freedom of expression.
Initially the relations between the various characters isn’t initially clear, but as the movie progresses that changes. This is the first movie for Baya Medhaffer, who plays her role convincingly and sings wonderfully. Ghalia Benali, who plays Farah’s mother as someone who cares a lot about her daughter, but sometimes goes too far in order to get things her way. It’s not hard to imagine that this is a movie couldn’t have been made in Tunisia a couple of years ago and it is proof that a revolution can bring big (and small) changes, enabling fascinating stories to be told.