Haider, married without children, is the youngest of two sons in a traditional Lahore family, where everyone lives under the same roof, and the main concern is ensuring the birth of a male heir. So, when Haider become a backup dancer to trans artist Biba, he keeps secret the true nature of his work. Soon he becomes attracted to Biba and before long the two are involved in an illicit romance.
This impressive feature debut from Saim Sadiq uses its complex central love story to sensitively explore societal expectations and rebellion. Joyland is the first ever Pakistani film chosen for the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, and has also been selected as Pakistan’s submission to the 2023 Oscars.
“★ ★ ★ ★ Bristling with real-life energy, this drama from Pakistan is beautifully observed, depicting realistic characters who are hugely engaging. While the issues are specific to this society, there is a universality to the film that pulls us in.”
– Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
“Pakistani writer-director Saim Sadiq’s confident, expressive debut feature is conscientiously fair to everyone in its Lahore-set domestic melodrama of secrets, lies and unforeseen self-discovery, but never feels like it’s hedging its bets or shying away from harder truths.”
– Guy Lodge, Variety, Cannes Film Festival 2022