Ovid.tv Presents AS I OPEN MY EYES Review – Freedom vs. Safety

The bright sun beams in the face of a daughter standing on her balcony, as she struggles to exit her room and return to her everyday life. Once prideful and outspoken, the daughter has now been subdued into silence by violent police officers within her authoritarian country. With her typically wild hair now being restrained in a plain style, and her striking jewelry now absent from her neck, she has become a shell of herself due to a loss of hope for the progress of her country. Her mother calls her back to the bedroom with a subtle humming of music. In an attempt to restore her daughter’s spirit, the mother begins to sing the song that her daughter had previously written. Although she opposed her daughter’s perseverance and passion for music before, her mother now sings her daughter’s words of yearning for a better world, as a statement of not only acceptance, but understanding. Her mother invites her to sing along, and overwhelmed by this gesture of support, the daughter can barely hide her smile or the tears dropping from her cheeks. Although the daughter attempts to finish the song, she retreats back to the balcony. Her mother quickly follows her, refusing to allow her daughter to give up. As the mother and daughter stand together, outlined by the sun’s silhouette, the mother embraces her daughter as she softly pushes her to find her voice again, whispering in her ear: “Continue”.

As I Open My Eyes follows the story of Farah, a young girl who is pressured to choose between her freedom of expression and her prioritization of safety during the chaotic 2010 Tunisian Revolution. Through the eyes of Farah, we witness her attempts to hold onto the joyfulness that she finds within her loved ones, in spite of the heavy political corruption and silencing that her country is suffering from. However, this drive for optimism that she gains from her confidants only pushes Farah further into the dangerous realm of rebellion, as she becomes determined to express her controversial views towards her beloved yet damaged country through the band’s performances at local bars.

Farah is known by her peers and family as headstrong, stubborn and immature, leading to her becoming an highlighted representation of an unprotected class during Tunisia’s times of political unrest: young women. Farah repeatedly chooses to disregard the prejudiced attitudes that she faces on a daily basis, refusing to conform to the oppressive regulations that threaten to strip away her identity, even if her stark refusal to conform leads to a target being placed on her back in any room that she walks in. Farah is unable to be a perfect victim due to her naive shortcomings, which allows her story to showcase the brutality that women who unabashedly fight for unrestricted expression may be forced to face.

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From long stares by the men around her, to sexist insults as well as acts of harassment and violence, you are steadily pressured into slowly growing accustomed to the dangers that Farah continues to face, as she gradually becomes aware of the harsh reality of the vulnerability that she suffers from. Where men are able to exist freely without much acknowledgement, Farah throughout the film is met with rooms that grow quiet at the sight of her or the sound of her voicing her opinion. As I Open My Eyes holds nothing back as it fully ingrains you into the harrowing and predatory atmosphere that Farah resides in and is forced to face head on, showcasing why she refuses to accept complacency and instead chooses to fight for her freedom of self-expression. In this writer’s opinion, the gritty realism that stems from the film taking place mainly in Farah’s firsthand experience of Tunisia’s civil chaos is what elevates the film to being a gripping and memorable narrative.

Individuals who are interested in political dramas, coming of age stories, and empowering stories about women will find this movie to be an unforgettable viewing experience.

Baya Medhaffar
Ghalia Benali
Montassar Ayari

Creative Team:
Leyla Bouzid


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For more information on this film and how to see it, visit the OVID.tv website for As I Open My Eyes

Photos Courtesy of OVID.tv

Najee Manning
Najee Manning

About the Author: Najee Manning

Najee Manning a self proclaimed media connoisseur. Having moved to various locations across his home state of New Jersey from a young age, Najee was constantly introduced to new environments filled with unique interests, sparking his fascination with diving into the world of the arts and always having an intriguing media analysis or fun fact to discuss with friends.

Now as an adult, Najee has furthered his deep interest in delving into the unique and experimental themes that are expressed within the world of film, music and other forms of art. Najee is fascinated by human creativity and is continually on the hunt for creations that incorporate fresh and innovative concepts.

When not enjoying quality time with his dog, Najee jumps back and forth through the realms of games, film, music, art and books to find a new story that stimulates his imagination.

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