A few months before the revolution in Tunisia, 18 year-old Farah has a passion for life and sings in a political rock band. Her mother, knowing the dangers of Tunisia, wants her to pursue a career as a doctor.
Hedi, a young man with great dream, is struggling his way through social conventions in Tunisia. While his mother tries to decide his life for him, Hedi meets Rim and suddenly he discovers that his world goes beyond and above conventions.
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Mariam Al Ferjani,
Tunis, summer 2010, a few months before the Revolution: Farah, 18 years-old, has just graduated and her family already sees her as a future doctor. But she doesn't think the same way. She sings in a political rock band. She has a passion for life, gets drunk, discovers love and her city by night against the will of her mother Hayet, who knows Tunisia and its dangers too well.
A lenient story about middle-class revolutionist in Tunis
"As I Open My Eyes" is a story about tense political situation (before Arab Spring) without a political message. It would have been too easy to dramatize this coming-of-age -story with extreme episodes of resistance against Tunisian totalitarianism, just before Jasmine Revolution in 2011. Instead, we follow quite familiar narrative that could happen' anywhere in Europe: young multi-talented woman, Farah has to decide if she wants to become a rock singer or to agree with her mother and go to medial school.
Most of the conflicts in this narrative are inside the family. Only lately do we understand, as well as Farah, that her career as a rock-singer has been protected by a family friend. When the real political situation is exposed and the band has to stop performing, the bigger conflict with the totalitarian police forces is even too familiar from many similar movies. It seems to be very difficult to find the right tone for this kind of situation: to show the psychological effects without exploitation of the subject and female characters. This film is trying to find a compromise between psychological and political realism, but there are too many characters in the way.
The last third part of the film is kind of lame considering what we have seen before, and there are some loose strings in the background story of Farah's parents, but still it's a film that will widen your cultural horizon a lot. The wild and beautiful songs that Farah sings are reason enough to see this movie.
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