The youngest son in a traditional Pakistani family takes a job as a backup dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque, and quickly becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman who runs the show. Meanwhile, his smart and resourceful wife has to quit her job, now that her husband is (finally) earning a living. This is a movie about people who find their inner selves, but their senses of themselves don’t match up to what is expected of them.
Language: Urdu, subtitles: English
Joyland is the oldest amusement park in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province. It is a place where people like Haider and his pregnant wife Mumtaz like to forget all their worries. She lives daily with the pressures that the patriarchal society of Pakistan puts on her - she has to give birth to a son - and once her husband lands a job, she has to give up her own job at a beauty salon which, until then, provided for the family. Haider, meanwhile, walks around with a big secret. Instead of being a theater manager as his family thinks, he secretly works as a backup dancer for Biba, a trans woman who performs in an exotic dance club. When he also falls in love with her, a culture clash erupts that unsettles his environment. The characters all struggle, including Biba played by trans performer Alina Khan.
This was the first Pakistani film to premiere at the Cannes film festival, and it won the Un Certain Regard jury prize. It was also the first Pakistani film to make it to the Oscars’ international feature film shortlist and the first one to win the Independent Spirit award for Best International film.
Please note: the film contains some graphic images.
“A mysterious, sad and tender movie. Joyland is such a delicate, intelligent and emotionally rich film.” The Guardian.
“A luminous crowdpleaser. There’s no identified villain or oppressor — just an uncertain world in its own state of societal and generational transition.” Variety
“Richly detailed and superbly acted across the board, the film cast a scathing eye over the rigid social constraints that ensnare anyone who fails to conform. The Guardian
“When Farooq and Gilani each get a scene to speak up about their characters’ frustrations, their righteous anger burns a hole through the screen.” NY Times.
“An unexpected gut punch.” Deadline
More information about how the film was received in Pakistan can be found here:
This film will be shown at Filmhuis De Zwarte Doos. Buying a ticket online in advance is mandatory if you want to attend this film. You can buy a ticket via the black “order” button on this page.
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The screening of the film starts at 19:30 sharp (no commercial). We kindly ask you to be at the ticket counter when it opens 15 minutes prior to the start of the film. This is to ensure the film starts and ends on time.
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