In the matter of weeks, Saim Sadiq’s Joyland has gone from being Pakistan’s official entry in the best international feature category at the Oscars to a film that is unlikely to be shown in the country.
Sadiq’s acclaimed debut feature, about the entanglement between a married man and a transgender dancer, was premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Un Certain Regard section. Joyland was set for a theatrical release in Pakistan on November 18 but was abruptly banned by the country’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
On November 11, the ministry cancelled the exhibition licence issued to Joyland on August 17, the country’s leading newspaper Dawn reported. According to Dawn, the ministry’s notice states that the Central Board of Film Censors Islamabad has revoked Joyland’s censor certificate on the ground that “the film contains highly objectionable material which do 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 Central Board of Film Censors Islamabad’s jurisdiction excludes the Punjab and Sindh regions, which separately certify movies even after they have been cleared by Islamabad.
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