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The debut feature from writer/director Saim Sadiq, Joyland explores the many sides of love and desire in a patriarchal society. Gentle and timid, Haider (Ali Junejo) lives with his wife, Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq), his father, and his elder brother’s family in Lahore, Pakistan. Following a long spell of unemployment, Haider finally lands a job at a Bollywood-style burlesque, telling his family he is a theater manager, when in actuality, he is a backup dancer. The unusual position shakes up the steadfast traditional dynamics of his household and enables Haider to break out of his shell. As he acclimates to the new job, Haider becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman Biba (Alina Khan) who runs the show—an unforeseen partnership that opens his eyes and ultimately his worldview, in ways both unexpected and intimate. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker praised it as “funny, forward, and bracingly political . . . mounts an indictment against misogyny and transphobia without ever lecturing us.” Descriptions adapted from Oscilloscope Laboratories. (Dir.: Saim Sadiq, Pakistan, 2022, 126 min., DCP, Punjabi and Urdu with English subtitles)
followed by a discussion with film critic and YouTuber Sucharita Tyagi.