Pakistani feature film ‘Joyland’, the county’s first ever film to be selected as an official entry at Cannes Film Festival, has bagged the Jury Prize for emerging and innovative cinema talent at the festival.
The film, which was director Saim Sadiq’s debut feature film, won the top prize at the Un Certain Regard, a section of the festival dedicated to young, up-and-coming talent and films about marginalized themes.
Joyland also won the Cannes Queer Palm, for the best LQBTQ+, queer, or feminist themed film, and was also in the running for the Caméra d’Or, which is awarded to a first-time director.
The film revolves around the themes of patriarchy, queerness, and gender and identity. It follows the story of Haider, the youngest son of a typical middle-class patriarch who wants nothing more than his two sons to give grandsons.
However, unbeknownst to his father, Haider becomes the backup dancer for a transgender dancer, and eventually the two fall in love.
Joyland had its world premier at the French festival, after which the film and its cast and crew received a standing ovation.
At Un Certain Regard, the film was up against very strong entries, some of which were also contenders for the festival’s biggest prize, the Palme d’Or.
The film stars a transgender actress Alina Khan as the lead, and also features other established actresses such as Sania Saeed and Sarwat Gilani, as well as Ali Junejo and Rasti Farooq.
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It was both written and directed by Saim Sadiq, and features Sana Jafri as a co-producer, as well as an original score by Abdullah Siddique.