As I Open My Eyes
By Anne-Linda Amira Augustin and Mariam Salehi
The Summer Academy’s group visited Tunis City (Centre Alyssa Manar) today to watch a film in the cinema Amilcar presenting the French-Tunisian drama film “As I Open My Eyes” (A peine, j’ouvre les yeux, 2015) directed by award-winning Leyla Bouzid. At the age of 16, Leyla Bouzid (born in 1984) began her career as a filmmaker, after she had already acted in various films of her father, the famous filmmaker Nouri Bouzid. Leyla studied filmmaking at the Film School “Fémis” in Paris, where she directed her first short film “Bonjour”.
The film “As I Open My Eyes” is about 18-year-old Farah who joins a rock band in the summer of 2010 before the start of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. She is monitored by the police, however, does not stop singing political songs in her band. The film received many positive critiques. For her role of Farah, Baya Medhaffar was nominated at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival as the most promising actress. The film won the People’s Choice Award at the Venice International Film Festival.
After the screening, distributor Mohamed Frini and Roua Krimi, who organized the screening, provided us with some insights about the production process, as well as the film’s reception in Tunisia.
While the film is not based on a true story, it was inspired by real events. It did not face any political resistance during the production process, but overcoming bureaucratic obstacles was not easy. Here, the political will is lacking to ease bureaucratic procedures, so as to encourage the realization of creative projects.
“A peine, j’ouvre les yeux” was shown in all 24 Tunisian governorates and was very well received all over the country. Asked about delicate scenes, our two interlocutors ensured that they did not face any problems and it had definitely been managed to shield the film from any kind of censorship.
For our German readers, we highly recommend the Berlin Premiere, which will take place on 16 September at Hackesche Höfe Kino, followed by a discussion with director Leyla Bouzid.