Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Open Your Eyes (1997)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Open Your Eyes (1997, Sp.) (aka Abre Los Ojos)

In director Alejandro Amenabar's confusing and baffling film, a remake of Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), and remade in Hollywood with Penelope Cruz (again) and Tom Cruise (real-life lovers at the time) as Vanilla Sky (2001), by director Cameron Crowe:

  • the main character: 25 year-old handsome, and attractive playboy César (Eduardo Noriega), who related his 'unreliable' story, in flashback; at first, he met and flirted with beautiful brunette Sofia Cueto (Penelope Cruz), the girlfriend of his good friend Pelayo (Fele Martínez); during a birthday party at his place, Cesar's jealous, obsessive, abandoned black-haired lover Nuria (Najwa Nimri) gate-crashed and came to his bedroom - hinting that she felt jilted because she hadn't been invited to his party, and that she knew of his flirtations with the brunette; she forced kisses on him, causing him to leave and attend to his guests
  • the next morning, Nuria picked Cesar up in her red sports-car; while driving, she downed a napkin full of pills, then said "happiness" was being with him, although he admitted his thoughts were elsewhere and he didn't want to have a heavy conversation with her; she said she felt used by him only for sex, and that he didn't really know her; Nuria asked him: "Tell me something. Do you believe in God?"; then, Nuria deliberately smashed her car into a guard rail, sending them down an embankment into a cement wall; she deliberately killed herself and injured him as her passenger - he had a fractured skull; after the accident, the suicidal Cesar had severe facial disfiguration, and was forced to wear a prosthetic mask; he suffered from mental trauma and delusions, and was looking for a way to resolve his life's predicament
  • the sight of Cesar seen lying on the street, holding a prosthetic face mask in his hand, and revealing his severe facial disfigurement; a female was whispering and prodding him to wake up with the words "Open Your Eyes"
Lying on Street - The Facially-Disfigured Cesar
Cesar With Sofia
Cesar Making Love With Sofia
  • the scenes of Cesar's unsettling disjunctions and dreamy wish fulfillments (mostly to get together with Sofia, or to have a new face); in one striking highly-sensual scene (in his 'dream' (?) life), he made love to a nude, brown-haired Sofia - she straddled him, then sat up and posed above Cesar
  • Cesar's continual sessions with his psychiatrist Antonio (Chete Lara) in a psychiatric penitentiary (prison cell) in Madrid, talking about his recurring dreams; he had also been charged with murder - in a deranged and insane state, he was accused of smothering Nuria/Sofia with a pillow while making love to her
  • through hypnosis with his psychiatrist, Cesar remembered that around the time of his disfigurement, he had been pressured to sign papers ("You won't regret it. Sign") for a contract with an American cryogenics company called Life Extension (or L.E.); in fact, it appeared that had contracted for L.E. to freeze his body (after he committed suicide in despair over the accident), and provide him with other after-life services; the cryonization company was paid to give him "immortality" after death ("You pay to live eternally") - in other words, a rebirth; he would be given a future fantasy virtual paradisical life of "artificial perceptions" (in Clause 14) or virtual reality dreams - based upon his past experiences; however, there were technological glitches in L.E.'s cryonics VR system, causing his nightmarish visions (there was a "splice of 150 years" inserted between Cesar's "real life" and "virtual life" - the splice was something that he shouldn't have noticed because he was "dead and frozen," but apparently Cesar did); his life was in fact a virtual reality dream (spliced into his real memories) of what he imagined he had experienced after the night of his birthday party and the devastating crash
  • the final scene was set on the top of the 50-story high-rise rooftop of the L.E. company; he was told by Serge Duvernois (Gérard Barray), now revealed as a representative of L.E. or Life Extension, that he had signed the papers with L.E. to put him into a dream of how he wanted life to be, but because of his traumatic recollections, he was living a "nightmare" life ("You invented your hell"); he believed that the nightmarish visions he was experiencing were solely created by L.E.
His Final Meeting With Sofia on The Rooftop
Suicidally Jumping From Roof to End His Nightmarish Life and Trigger Rebirth
  • in the transcendental, stunning conclusion, Cesar believed that he could live a better life ("You just have to ask") in the future year of 2145, about 150 years into the future (150 years could also be a few hours, a day, a week - an indeterminate amount of time); Duvernois asked Cesar: "Do you have any wish before you die?" Cesar closed his eyes, and conjured up in his head his long-dead lover Sofia, breathtakingly beautiful in an almost transparent white dress, and restored his own face to normal; wordlessly, he embraced her; one last time before 'killing' his current 'virtual' life, he resolved to "open his eyes" to non-cryogenic healed life in the future - he elected to wake up and be resurrected, now that plastic surgery had advanced and might help him
  • in his final moments, Cesar gave Sofia a farewell kiss, and then jumped - hopefully to trigger his rebirth; an instant before he hit the ground, the film cut to black, and a strange woman's voice (a nurse?) in a soothing voice asked him to awaken: "Tranquilo. Tranquilo. Abre los ojos..." ("Relax. Relax. Open your eyes...").

Cesar (Eduardo Noriega)

Cesar Flirting with Sofia Cueto (Penelope Cruz)

Jilted Nuria (Najwa Nimri)

Frozen Cyrogenically - Everything Was Only a Dream ?

Cesar's Black-Haired Lover Nuria (Najwa Nimri) - or was it Sofia?

Murder of Sofia/Nuria: Smothered by Cesar


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z