Pakistan's official Oscar contender 'Joyland' banned for release by authorities

Pakistan's official Oscar contender 'Joyland' banned for release by authorities
'Joyland', the Cannes award-winning movie about a man who falls in love with a trans woman and is Pakistan's official entry to the Oscars, has been banned from release by the Pakistani government.
2 min read
16 November, 2022
'Joyland' was due for release in Pakistan this week [Arif Ali/AFP via Getty Images]

Pakistan’s government has banned the release of 'Joyland', the movie that will be the South Asian country's Oscars contender, for its 'objectionable' content. 

'Joyland' tells a love story between a man from 'a happily patriarchal joint family' and a trans woman he meets when he joins an erotic dance theatre, according to the Cannes Film Festival website. 

The movie is Pakistan’s official entry for the best international feature film at the 2023 Oscars, and was due to be released in the country this week.  Despite being banned in the country, 'Joyland' could still qualify for the Oscars if it is in theatres for at least seven days before 30 November. 

The movie is the first South Asian film to win the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Nobel laureate, is the executive director of the movie. 

The government initially granted 'Joyland' permission for release in August, but later backtracked on its stance after pressure from Islamist parties.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said it had received complaints that the movie contains "highly objectional material" and does not conform with the "social values and moral standards of our society," according to CNN

All cinemas that fall under the country’s censor board cannot show the movie. 

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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has condemned the decision to withdraw 'Joyland's certification, calling it "rabidly transphobic" and said that it "violates the film producers’ right to freedom of expression."

The ban has also sparked an outcry online, using the hashtag #ReleaseJoyland. 

Earlier on Tuesday, an aide to the Prime Minister said that a committee was assessing complaints against 'Joyland' and was reviewing the ban.