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!

Great review! however, i must point to the fact that when stating that "women and prostitutes are mere objects... " you are unconsciously making the assumption that prostitutes are NOT women. Be careful with your wording.. other than that this review makes me want to watch the film!

A very good review by May Abu-Jaber. She shows how women are treated in some part of the world but at the same time the film may be spread some awareness concerning this issuee. also I agree with the above comment. Job well done Keep it up.

simple straight forward & well written ,I want to watch the movie as it seems interesting. Thanks for bringing this into light!

sounds like an interesting film

As a film critic, I am very impressed by the insight provided in May's review in the conflict and inronies in the lives of the main female characters of the film.

excellent review!

I think that the way that you brought up the issue of competition between women is a prevalent topic that we, as women, experience on a daily basis-- take for example the issue of make-up. Its interesting though to see the difference forms of competition between women in different cultures! quite an eye opening review...