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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Cinema EN (new)


70th Venice International Film Festival

Director: Alberto Barbera

28th August > 7th September 2013

Final Cut in Venice

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Summer 2003: a motorcyclist, armed with a razor, is driving around the streets of Tunis slashing the most beautiful buttocks of women walking along the city’s sidewalks. They call him the Challatt, which means blade in the Tunisian dialect. From one neighborhood to another, from one café to another, the most unlikely stories circulate about him. Everyone is talking about him but no one has ever seen him. The Challatt becomes a sort of mysterious figure surrounded by an aura of fascination and terror. The shadow of the Challatt and the violence of his actions change the dress code of the women of Tunis: no more tight jeans, no miniskirts, no carefree strolls...
Ten years later, after the revolution, when the truth seems within reach, a stubborn director sets out to track him down, determined to clear up the mystery at any cost. With irony. Challatt Tunes recounts the intrigues behind a story that has become an urban legend and portrays a Tunisian society in turmoil, where men are struggling to find their place and the female body has become a political problem.

Note: the screening on August 31 at 2:30 pm is reserved for Industry pass holders
31 August 14:30 - Sala Pasinetti FINAL CUT IN VENICE Challatt Tunes by Kaouther Ben Hania - Tunisia, 92' (92') work-in-progress
language: Arabic - s/t English
Jallel Dridi, Rebeh Saidani, Mohamed Slim Bouchiha, Moufida Dhehbi
Director’s Statement
The story of the Challatt oscillates between the news item and the urban legend, between truth and lies. Its aesthetic form is also a subtle coming and going that explores the boundaries between documentary and fiction.
The film borrows the codes of the investigative documentary in which the director seeks evidence for his or her inquiry, but the search for the Challatt is undermined by lies that, in turn, reveal other truths. Challatt Tunes is like a great treasure hunt in which, behind each stage, there is a story (true or false) that tells us something more about the reality. The form of the film at once suggested to me a humorous tone with a hint of irony. The subject was too dramatic to stand a mawkish treatment. In Tunisia what keeps people going is their ability to laugh at serious things that would otherwise suffocate them. I wanted my film to reflect the image of this Tunisia that constantly practices self-mockery in order to keep alive its hope in a better future.