Beauty Will Save The World

“In her fascinating, briskly paced video documentary, Pietra Brettkelly tracks the pageant with a sharp eye toward its implications.” LA Weekly Nov 2003

Before Saddam and Osama, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi was one of the most reviled leaders in the world.

Libya still ranks in the Axis of Evil roster. Why then does this hotbed of anti-Americanism host the most iconic of Western competitions – a beauty pageant?

A first for Libya, anathema to traditional Muslim life, and even a burr in the saddle of many Western cultures, this battle of the beauties is guaranteed to produce some heated, if not scandalous, events.

BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD follows the exploits of 19 year-old Teca Zendik, the American contender for the crown.

She sets out with her political loyalties in check, even refusing to wear the competition uniform – a teeshirt emblazoned with Gadaffi’s likeness.

How then does she assume the position of honorary consul to the US for Libya in a mere matter of months?

Marvel at how diplomatic ties are re-established between two nations, enjoy the behind-the-scenes antics of a beauty pageant, and seize the chance to see rare footage of Gadaffi himself in this accidental political documentary.


American Film Institute Festival, Los Angeles
IDFA, Amsterdam
Hotdocs, Toronto