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Joyland (2023)

Opens on April 28

Director: Saim Sadiq Run Time: 126 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2022

Starring: Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq, Salmaan Peerzada, Sarwat Gilani

Country: Pakistan
Language: Punjabi, Urdu

About the film:

Winner, Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, 2022 Cannes Film Festival
Winner, Queer Palm, 2022 Cannes Film Festival
Shortlisted for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards

Initially banned by the Pakistani government, this sensitive and nuanced debut feature from writer-director Saim Sadiq explores the many sides of love and desire in a patriarchal society.

Gentle and timid, Haider (Ali Junejo) lives with his wife Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq), his father, and his elder brother’s family in Lahore, Pakistan. Following a long spell of unemployment, Haider finally lands a job at a Bollywood-style burlesque, telling his family he is a theater manager, when in actuality, he is a backup dancer.

The unusual position shakes up the steadfast traditional dynamics of Haider’s household and enables him to break out of his shell. As he acclimates to the new job, he becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman Biba (Alina Khan) who runs the show—an unforeseen partnership that opens his eyes and ultimately his worldview, in ways both unexpected and intimate.

“emotional, tender, and quietly radical. With any luck, it will herald a new era for Pakistani cinema”

—John Nugent, Hollywood Reporter

About the filmmaker:

Saim Sadiq is a Pakistani film writer, director, and editor. His feature film Joyland (2023) is the first Pakistani feature to premiere at the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard. His short film Darling (2019) was the first Pakistani film to premiere at the 76th Venice Film Festival, where it won the Orrizonti Prize for Best Short Film. It was also an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019 and won a Special Jury Mention award at South by Southwest 2020. His previous short film Nice Talking to You (2018) was an official selection at South by Southwest 2019, Palm Springs International Shortsfest 2019, made the BAFTA Shortlist for Best Student Film, and won Vimeo’s Best Director award at Columbia University Film Festival 2018. It also won the Kodak Student Scholarship Gold Award. Sadiq received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and his MFA in film directing from Columbia University.

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