Joyland, Pak Entry to Oscar and its Ban

Joyland, Pak Entry to Oscar and its Ban

Pakistan on November 11 banned movie Joyland, Saim Sadiq’s critically-acclaimed film Joyland, which was the countries official entry to the Oscars.  The country banned the film, which tells the story of a falling in love with a transgender woman, alleging that it contains “highly objectionable material”.

The film was issued a clearance certificate for public viewing earlier. The film was scheduled for theatrical release in Pakistan on November 18.


In its notification, the ministry said the film does not conform with the country’s “social values and moral standards”.

“Written complaints were received that the film contains highly objectionable material which does not conform with the social values and moral standards of our society and is clearly repugnant to the norms of ‘decency and morality as laid down in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979,” the minister said in the notification.

The order said “in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9(2) (a) of the said Ordinance and after conducting a comprehensive inquiry, the Federal Government declares the feature film titled ‘Joyland’ as an uncertified film for the whole of Pakistan in the cinemas which fall under the jurisdiction of CBFC with immediate effect.”


Joyland  takes the lead of a patriarchal family, who craves for a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for a transwoman. The film received top global awards, including Queer Palm, which is the Cannes Film Festival’s LGBTQ prize. It also got fantastic reviews after getting premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and the American Film Institute Festival.


The Pakistan government is said to have come under pressure from religious groups, who vehemently opposed the film. The religious groups accused the movie of promoting homosexuality. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, a member of a religious political party who had campaigned against the release of the film, in his Twitter said that he was relieved to hear about the ban. “Nothing un-Islamic can happen here,” Ahmad said.


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