Join us for a screening of As I Open My Eyes (Tunisia, 2015), directed by Layla Bouzid. RSVP requested, but not required (will open October 12, 2017). Pizza and soft drinks will be served.

Synopsis

As I Open My Eyes gives us a look at Tunisian youth on the eve of the Jasmine Revolution as they are pulled in all directions by conflicting forces: disenchantment, fear, creativity, rebellion against dictatorship, rejection of conservatism, and the courage to pursue their desires.

Farah (Baya Medhaffar) is a young woman at a crossroads. Her medical-school application has just been accepted, and nothing could please her mother, Hayet (Ghalia Benali), more — but Farah's passion is for music, and her underground band is just beginning to get noticed. Their music blends rock with daring lyrics that have the raw poetry of spoken word. Soon enough, the police are alerted to the band's subversive performances and begin to harass them, and when Farah is detained and interrogated, she realizes that one of her friends is a snitch.

The story was inspired by director Leyla Bouzid's personal experience: during Ben Ali's dictatorship, she and her friends ran a cine-club, one of whose members was discovered to be a secret-police informant.

Bouzid's behind-the-camera talent is complemented by Iraqi musician Khyam Allami's compositions and Ghassen Amami's hard-hitting lyrics, and by the engaging, truthful performances of the cast — particularly Medhaffar, a joy to watch on stage as the fiery Farah, sharing a marvelous onscreen chemistry with celebrated singer-performer Benali.

[Synopsis courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival]

Praise for As I Open My Eyes

New York Times Critics' Pick "Ms. Medhaffar has the charisma, if not the voice, of the young Joan Baez." -New York Times 

"Best fictional film yet about the Arab Spring." -Indiewire 

"Showcases a stand-out lead performance by first-timer Baya Medhaffar." -Variety 

Director Bio:

Leyla Bouzid was born in 1984 and grew up in Tunis. In 2003 she went to Paris to study French literature at the Sorbonne University and film directing at the Femis School. She made Soubresauts (Mkhobbi Fi Kobba), her thesis film in Tunisia, a few months before the Jasmine Revolution. She then directed Zakaria in the south of France with a non-professional cast. These two short films received a very warm welcome in festivals in France and abroad, playing at more then sixty festivals and receiving a dozen awards. As I Open My Eyes is her first feature film.

Cast:

Farah….Baya Medhaffar
Hayet…..Ghalia Benali
Borhene….Montassar Ayari
Ali…Aymen Omrani
Mahmoud….Lassaad Jamoussi
Ines….Deena Abdelwahed
Ska….Youssef Soltana
Sami….Marwen Soltana
Ahlem….Najoua Mathlouthi
Moncef….Youness Ferhi
The Poet at the Bar….Fathi Akkeri
Hamida….Saloua Mohammed

Crew:

Director….Leyla Bouzid
Producers….Sandra Da Fonseca and Imed Marzouk
Associate Producers….Nathalie Mesuret, Bertrand Gore
Screenwriters….Leyla Bouzid, Marie-Sophie Chambon
Original Score…..Khyam Allami
Cinematography…..Sebastien Goepfert
Editing…..Lilian Corbeille
Sound….Ludovic Van Pachterbeke
Sound Mixing…..Remi Gerard

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