Synopsis by Mark Deming
A black street sweeper and a white bank executive lose their jobs on the same day in Paris, and Wantani: Un Monde Sans Mal follows what happens to them as we study their respective fates. The banker has trouble finding a new job but lies to his wife about his problems, while continuing to spoil his daughters. Eventually, he falls in with a group of racist thugs at a local bar and starts to tag along with them as they attack blacks and Arabs out on the streets after dark. The street sweeper, however, is left homeless by his firing, and is soon forced to take shelter at a local church when local employment agencies and social service organizations allow him to fall through the cracks. Despite all this, he and his family maintain their dignity as they band together with other poor immigrants to keep body and soul together. Independent filmmaker Med Hondo shot this feature on digital video; it became controversial after Hondo publicly contested the French ratings board's restrictive designation for the film, which cited its violence. Hondo, however, argued that the violence of the film was merely an honest reflection of the realities the film was meant to criticize.