Director: Saim Sadiq Run Time: 127 min. Release Year: 2022 Language: Urdu
Starring: Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq, Salmaan Peerzada, Sarwat Gilani
The debut feature from writer-director Saim Sadiq, Joyland 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 his household and enables Haider to break out of his shell. As he acclimates to the new job, Haider 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.
Saim Sadiq is a Pakistani screenwriter and director who won the Jury Prize of the Un Certain Regard section at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival for directing the drama film Joyland, the first Pakistani film to be selected in Cannes. Joyland also won the Queer Palm award during its world premiere at Cannes.
“The picture transcends the tragic romance narrative, to achieve something rather more complex and satisfying.” ~ Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)
“A film of huge heart and empathy. Mirroring the hapless hero’s journey, it’s an unexpected romance.” ~ Tara Brady, Irish Times