Updated 28 May, 2022

Joyland, a Pakistani movie featuring a daring portrait of a transgender dancer in the country, on Friday won the Cannes Queer Palm prize for best LGBT, “queer” or feminist-themed movie, the jury head told AFP. The film also won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard segment.

Joyland by director Saim Sadiq, a tale of sexual revolution, tells the story of the youngest son in a patriarchal family who is expected to produce a baby boy with his wife but joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for the troupe’s director, a trans woman.

It is the first-ever Pakistani competitive entry at the Cannes festival where it is part of the Un Certain Regard segment that focuses on young, innovative cinema talent. Un Certain Regard is a competition focused on art-house films that runs parallel to the main competition, the Palme d'Or, which will be announced on Saturday.

“It’s a very powerful film, that represents everything that we stand for,” jury head, French director Catherine Corsini said.

Joyland will echo across the world,” Corsini said. “It has strong characters who are both complex and real. Nothing is distorted. We were blown away by this film.”

Joyland beat off several other strong entries, including Close by Belgian director Lukas Dhont and Tchaikovsky’s Wife by Kirill Serebrennikov, both hot contenders for the Cannes Festival’s top award Palme d’Or which will be announced on Saturday.

Joyland left Cannes audiences slack-jawed and admiring and got a standing ovation from the opening night’s crowd.

The film stars Sarwat Gilani, Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan and Rasti Farooq.“It felt like the hard work that people do, the struggles that we face as artists in Pakistan, they’ve all come to be worth it,” Gilani told Reuters on Tuesday after the standing ovation.

“It’s not just about a love story anymore. It’s about real-time issues, real life issues that we all go through,” she said. “Having a woman, a trans, represent that sector of the society, I think it’s a really good step in the direction where we can say we can write progressive stories.”


V.G.Shanker May 28, 2022 10:28am
Joyland is a splendid achivement Pakistan can be proud of. Heartening,fully merited recognition.
Abu Yusuf Shukri May 28, 2022 11:25am
Why is it that Pakistani films do well at Cannes and Oscars but miserably fail to impress any segment of the society in Pakistan?
Robin Mitha May 28, 2022 12:34pm
Bravo, very well done, great honor.
Aisha May 28, 2022 01:55pm
@Abu Yusuf Shukri the films do not do well there but the film stars and producers dressing makes them attractive. The exhibitionism is what impresses the West, not Pakistanis.
Jo Original May 28, 2022 04:21pm
Be proud represent your country by celebrating and showcasing the best designs and dresse wear from Pakistan.
Jigen.m19 May 28, 2022 05:10pm
Non sense doesn’t represent the majority of Pakistani society
Ehsan May 28, 2022 08:08pm
Beautifully dressed cast
Bund_lover May 29, 2022 01:24am
@Abu Yusuf Shukri because the subject matter is taboo in Pakistan. It's a movie based on LGBTQ theme and that isn't acceptable to most people.
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad May 29, 2022 05:47pm
Great move and wonderful news. Keep it up and hang on tough.
Tadka May 29, 2022 08:47pm
Indian connection with this movie is carefully kept hidden
Rehana Bounse May 30, 2022 01:37am
@Abu Yusuf Shukri because we have to open our minds because life is not just black & white . We have to be more accepting of what is going on in our society & make it better
Rehana Bounse May 30, 2022 01:40am
@Aisha you must be on another planet. The foreign films do not have the same topic
Nadeem Shah Jun 02, 2022 05:32pm
Indians thinking how to copy Joyland and turn it into a Bollywood slum movie.