Directed by: Saim Sadiq
Pakistan, 2022, 126m
In Punjabi and Urdu with English subtitles
Set in the heart of Lahore, Pakistan, Joyland is a compelling family saga of lies, secrets, and self-discoveries. First-time director Saim Sadiq masterfully tells this complex story of transgender desire with brilliant colors and nuanced visuals, accurately depicting both the beauty and tragedy of the characters that inhabit these frames. Currently banned from release in the Punjab province where the film takes place, the story revolves around Haider, the unemployed, younger son of the Rana family, who tries to find his purpose in life while supporting his working wife and being a caretaker to the young and old of the family. But after increased pressure to find a job, Haider lands employment in an unexpected place—Bollywood-style burlesque. He secretly starts working there as a backup dancer to Biba, the transgender lead dancer, who challenges Haider’s perceptions about himself and his life. Nothing remains the same as Haider starts a journey of self-discovery that is about to unravel the entire Rana household. Winner of the Independent Spirit Award for Best International Film, as well as 13 other major festival awards worldwide, including Cannes, London, Sao Paulo, and Palm Springs.