Simple movie with a strong impact – ‘As I open my eyes’ is a coming of age tale of a young girl in the country of Tunisia. Revolving around the hurdles of patriarchal society, political unrest, lack of freedom and forceful compromises, the movie explores the challenges of free-spirited 18 years old Farah (Baya Medhaffar) in the conservative society of Tunisia. A powerful storyline with elements of drama, emotions, relations and uncertainties, this French-Tunisian movie ventures into the impact of music over the political situation in the country. Based on the Jasmine revolution (Arab spring movement) of 2010 that united the people against dictatorship in Tunisia, ‘As I open my eyes’ explores the role of modern youth and music in this struggle.
Filmmaker Leyla Bouzid has crafted an impactful movie that relies on the power of expressions and relations. Hoping to use the channels of music, as Farah and her band prepare themselves for their first gig – restrictions from her over-protective mother and lack of support from the society pose as difficult challenges. While worried about the bold attitude of her daughter, as Hayet (Ghalia Benali) urges her to stay away from the unknown territory of band, rock music, late night shows and bars, Farah experiences troubles of a protected life.
The movie depicts wonderful essence of relationship between the mother and daughter. As her father is forced to stay away for work purpose, Farah is chocked by the restrictions of her mother. Though this mother-daughter pair experience their own share of ups and downs, their strong affection towards each other is one of the best factors to look forward to. With bold lyrics of songs and soothing traditional music, the movie focuses on this form of arts for awareness among the people. Boldness of attitude and free-will spirit represent the spark of beautiful Farah, as she refuses to shut her voice against the troubles in the country. Though her intelligence and smartness pave the way for admission into a medical college, her passion for music keeps her away. While Hayet looks forward to a bright and successful future for her daughter, Farah’s dreams take her in a different direction.
Growing unrest among the band members, opposition from influential members of the ruling party, clouds of fear and threats to the free-spirited young performers combine into undesirable experiences. The movie blends politics, lifestyle, arts and relations into a wonderful outcome as every single aspect brings out its magic over the screen. Streaming love affair between Farah and fellow band member Bohrene (Montassar Ayari) add complexities of love, trust, care and concern, while dealing with political troubles. Every actor has brought justice to their role that deals with novel aspects in a power-packed plot. From melodious music performances in the clubs to honest conversations with her mother, from moments of love with her boyfriend to desire of being free and independent, as young Farah depicts several shades along the movie, the character truly comes to life.
By involving music as her tool of expression, as Farah hopes to keep the passion alive, several factors change the course of her story. Smooth flowing pace poses as a good feature of this movie that often relies on the imagination of the audience.
Watch this movie for its novel topic, excellent performance, powerful plot and real-life correlation. ‘As I open my eyes’ will portray the sight as viewed by the free bird Farah.