Elevate Difference

What A Wonderful World

In What A Wonderful World, director Faouzi Bensaidi attempts to bring together the incongruities of Moroccan urban life with elegance and intimacy. The film features a set of diverse characters whose lives intersect either by coincidence or choice. Thus, throughout the film one notices several intertwined little stories. However, the film’s main storyline revolves around a mercenary assassin, Kamel (who is played by Bensaidi), who falls in love with Kenza, a traffic officer by day and a prostitute by night.

Kamel’s job is driven by the world around him. Everything he sees is a potential sign he will use in order to obtain serial numbers as passwords that enable him to log onto a secure website where he gets his assignment—his next victim. Following every murder, Kamel calls Souad, Kenza’s best friend and prostitute. They meet in Kamel's rooftop apartment, which has a panoramic view of Casablanca. After he is done with her, Kamel literally dumps Souad from his bed. This scene is repeated more than once, yet Souad continues to answer his calls whenever Kamel desires.

I found these scenes to be quite disturbing because the director projects the idea that women and prostitutes are mere objects used for the sexual gratification of men. In other words, Souad’s body is transformed into an arena where institutionalized violence is accepted, and hence constitutes part of the spectrum of (dis)embodiment that is inflicted, and not determined, by the cultural, social, economic, and political setting of her world. Whether Bensaidi was conscious of the implications that this had, I cannot help but argue that What A Wonderful World reproduced dynamics of objectification and dissociation.

On another note, from a gendered perspective, one can argue that Bensaidi positions women against each other given the fact that Kamel falls in love with Souad’s best friend. Thus, rather than creating a mutual bond between women who are economically, culturally, and socially ostracized and oppressed, he constructs a form of competition that makes one question whether or not ‘sisterhood’ is actually possible. What A Wonderful World demonstrates that to survive in a world where crime is widespread and unemployment is evident, people might end up resorting to violence.

Written by: May Abu-Jaber, January 20th 2011

Very well written, keep it up!

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