CHALLATT OF TUNIS

LE CHALLAT DE TUNIS

By Kaouther BEN HANIA

CINETELEFILMS - as PROD

Comedy - Completed 2014

Through the story of Challatt, a supposed fundamentalist who slashes women’s buttocks with a razorblade in Tunisia, the film exposes a country of press censorship and political repression, revealing with humor and conviction what urban myths tell us about our society, culture and identity.

Festivals
& Awards

Festival de Cannes 2014
ACID
Busan - BIFF/APM 2014
Flash Forward
    • Year of production
    • 2014
    • Genres
    • Comedy
    • Countries
    • TUNISIA
    • Languages
    • TUNISIAN
    • Budget
    • 0.6 - 1 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Kaouther BEN HANIA
    • Writer(s)
    • Kaouther BEN HANIA
    • Producer(s)
    • Habib ATTIA (CINETELEFILMS), Julie PARATIAN (SISTER PRODUCTIONS)
    • Synopsis
    • Tunisia, Summer 2003. A man on a moped, razor blade in hand, prowls the streets of Tunis. He’s on a personal mission: slash the most beautiful buttocks of women strolling down the city’s sidewalks. They call him Challatt. In Tunisian dialect, the word means blade and is most likely an oral distortion of Gillette, famous razor blade brand with the slogan “the best a man can get”.
      The specter of Challatt and the violence of his actions temporarily changed the dress code of Tunisian women, who didn’t dare leave their houses in tight jeans or short skirts. Sidewalks were deserted and the mere sound of a moped provoked eerie unrest.
      Some say that Challatt takes his revenge on all seductresses because his wife is unfaithful to him. Others say that he is Allah crazed, a member of a dormant Al Qaeda cell out to punish women who mock his tenets. Yet still others liken his gesture to a performance, a happening.
      Challatt had become a mysterious figure fueling both passions and tensions. A myth surrounded by a halo of fascination, fantasy and terror. Everyone was talking about him but no one had ever seen him.
      Since its independence in 1956, Tunisia has prided itself for having succeeded better than its neighboring countries in liberating women and creating a secular state. Yet instead of arresting Challatt, a few weeks after the incidents the Government launched a “good morals” campaign. Lovers were no longer allowed to kiss on benches, women no longer allowed to wear miniskirts, and having a date on the beach or in public gardens became prohibited. The shadow of ruthless Challatt prowling the streets, backed by the omnipresent police, had disfigured Tunis.
      A few months later, following excessive police repression, the campaign of good morals came abruptly to an end, and a prominent newspaper announced that Challatt had been captured and jailed.
      Our story begins eight years later. Challatt has supposedly just been freed from jail, and Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania sets out to find him. She wants to know what motivated him to slash women just like herself? Did he belong to an organized group? Who benefited from the crime? And on a more disturbing level, why would the government, instead of defending women’s social progress, start competing with Challatt on the grounds of social morals? In moderate Arab countries, at what point do Islamists become a simple scapegoat and political tool?
      She will investigate this living legend from the inside, revealing what an urban myth can tell us about our society, our culture and our identity, taking the viewer on an insightful and entertaining voyage into a country where information is strictly controlled, where men seem to struggle to find their place, where the woman’s body remains a considerable political stake, and where intimacy and public life struggle to coexist.
    • Partners & financing
    • Attached : French coproducer SISTER Productions
      Required : German coproducer, Belgium coproducer, Canadian coproducer, TV coproduction, world sales agent and distributors
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Dec 01, 2011
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