‘Joyland’ banned: Pakistan bans national release of film depicting sexual liberation story

Islamabad, Pakistan

The Pakistani government has banned the nationwide release of “Joyland”, the first Pakistani film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival, just a week before it is due to hit cinemas in the South Asian country.

“Joyland” tells the love story between the youngest son of a “happy co-parenting family” and a transgender star he meets after secretly joining an erotic dance scene, according to Summary On the Cannes Film Festival website.

In August, the country’s Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) granted a certificate allowing the film to be released, but on Friday Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a notice saying it was now “uncertified”.

The official notice said that written complaints had been received stating that the film contained “extremely objectionable material” that did not conform to “the social values ​​and moral standards of our society”.

The The ministry’s notice said that cinemas that fall under the jurisdiction of the CBFC cannot screen the film.

“Joyland” won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the unofficial Queer Palm at Cannes in May. It was then submitted to the Academy Awards as Pakistan’s official entry for the International Narrative Film Award. However, you must be in theaters for at least seven days before November 30 to remain in competition for the awards.

Although “Joyland” is banned from showing in Pakistan, it can still qualify in this category if it “is shown outside the United States and its territories for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial movie theater for paid admission,” according to the Academy. official Grammar.

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On Tuesday, a close aide to the Pakistani prime minister chirp that a “high-level panel” was evaluating complaints against Joyland and reviewing her ban.

Counselor Salman Sofi said: “The committee will evaluate the complaints and their merits to decide on her release in Pakistan.”

The review comes after the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan issued a statement On Sunday, he condemned the government’s recall of Joyland’s certification as “rabidly transphobic” and a violation of film producers’ right to free speech.

“Pakistani audiences have the right to decide what they will watch,” the statement said.

Saim Sadiq, director of the film. argue In an Instagram post he said that reversing the ministry was “totally unconstitutional and illegal”, and urged them to reconsider.

“I restore the right of our citizens to be able to watch the film that made the cinema of their country proud of the world,” Sadiq wrote.

Our film was watched and approved by the three censorship boards in August 2022. The 18th Amendment to the Pakistani constitution gives all provinces autonomy to make their own decision. However, the ministry suddenly gave in under pressure from some extremist factions – who had not seen the film – and mocked the board Our federal oversight by making their decision irrelevant.”

The ban sparked a public uproar and campaign on social media with the hashtag #releasejoyland.

Rusty Farooq is one of the actresses in the movie. Spread on Instagram supporting efforts to get it released.

Farouk said, “I stand by my film, and everything it says, with every fiber of my being.”

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Pakistani actor Humayun Saeed, who stars in the fifth season of Netflix’s “The Crown,” also had a role.

“Joyland has made Pakistan proud by becoming the first South Asian film to win the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It is the story of our people being told by our people to our people. I hope it is made available to these very people #ReleaseJoyland” chirp.

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