// Presented as part of December's North African Auteurs Series //
Exclusive Essay: Challat the Tunis: Sexism, Lies and Computer Games in Tunisia
Spotlight on Challat of Tunis
Kaouther Ben Hania / Tunisia, 2013 / Cannes ACID, Amiens, Beirut, Dubai, Malmo, Medfilm Brussels, Medfilm Rome, Namur, San Sebastián, Sarajevo, Traverse City / 90'
In Tunis before the revolution, a strange rumor is in the air regarding a man on a motorbike, who rides around the city slashing the buttocks of women he considers incorrectly dressed. Ten years later, a young director hears that this man, the Challat (slasher), is set to be released from prison. She becomes intent on investigating the notorious Challat of Tunis, interviewing both the victims and a few suspects who seem to have disparate, if unequivocal, views on the urban legend.
Filmed in a mockumentary style, Challat of Tunis is an sharp, satirical study of the attitudes regarding women in this newly democratic nation. Kaouther Ben Hania's second feature participated in Final Cut at Venice; premiered at Cannes ACID, Dubai and San Sebastián: and won the Trophees Francophones du Cinema for Best Director.
"This playful blend of real and fake documentary uses a bizarre true story of unsolved knife attacks against women to examine gender politics in newly democratic Tunisia... Offering a wry feminist critique of macho chauvinism in Arab culture, Tunisian writer-director Kaouther Ben Hania's second feature is an intriguing addition to the boom in low-budget filmmaking inspired by the recent wave of Middle East revolutions"
- Stephen Dalton, Cannes Review, The Hollywood Reporter