VIFF 2014: Challat of Tunis takes on a deeply sexist system

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      Challat of Tunis (Tunisia/France/Canada)  

      Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania plays radically with form in her biting mockumentary, but that’s probably what’s needed to shake up the deeply sexist system she’s so boldly taking on. Things play out almost like jet-black comedy in her supposed journalistic quest to track down a man who slashed provocatively dressed women in a rampage over a decade ago. It leads her to men who respect the guy’s acts as punishment for lewd dress, women who live like prisoners in their own homes, and most bizarrely a casting call to find the right person to re-enact the slashing. You won’t know what to believe as things become more preposterous, and the film might leave you frustrated, wanting to know more facts. But it’s an appropriately complicated, messy little portrait of a country at war with itself, with some women in hijabs and others in tight jeans.

      Cinematheque, October 2 (7 p.m.) and 5 (3 p.m.) 

      Follow Janet Smith on Twitter at @janetsmitharts.