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Monday, July 15, 2024

Pakistan bans Film ‘Joyland’ over ‘highly objectionable material

Pakistani authorities have banned director Saim Sadiq’s critically acclaimed film “Joyland”, claiming it contains “highly objectionable material”, months after a certificate was issued to allow the film to be screened by the public.

“Joyland”, which is also Pakistan’s official Oscar nomination, was certified by the government on August 17. However, recently objections have been raised against its content.

This prompted the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ban the film to avoid opposition from conservative elements of the country.

In its November 11 notification, the ministry said the film was not in line with the country’s “social values ​​and moral standards”.

“Written complaints have been received that the film contains highly objectionable material which is not in accordance with the social values ​​and moral standards of our society and is clearly against the norms of ‘decency and morality as laid down in Section 9 of the Films Ordinance. , 1979,” the minister said in the announcement.

Sadiq’s directorial debut will compete for a place in the top five international feature films at the 2023 Academy Awards.

In its order, the ministry banned the screening of the film in the country. The film was slated for an 18 November theatrical release in Pakistan.

“Within the exercise of powers granted by § 9 paragraph 2 letter (a) of the said Ordinance and after carrying out a comprehensive inquiry, the Federal Government declares the feature film titled “Joyland” as an uncertified film for the whole of Pakistan in theatres. which come under the jurisdiction of the CBFC with immediate effect,” the order said.

“Joyland” follows a patriarchal family longing for a baby boy to continue the family line as their youngest son secretly enters an erotic dance theater and falls in love with a trans woman.

Sadiq wrote and directed the film, which features an ensemble cast of Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Rasti Farooq, Salmaan Peerzada and Sohail Sameer.

Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, the sole hardline Jamaat-e-Islami senator in Pakistan’s Senate, welcomed the government’s decision to ban the film, saying it was against Islam.

“Pakistan is an Islamic country and no law, ideology or activity can be tolerated,” he tweeted in Urdu.

In a Twitter thread, actor Sarwat Gilani criticized the Pakistani authorities for succumbing to pressure from “some malicious people” who are waging a smear campaign against the film.

“It is a shame that a Pakistani film made by 200 Pakistanis in 6 years, which received standing ovations from Toronto to Cairo to Cannes, is restricted in its own country. Do not take away this moment of pride and joy from our people! “No one is forcing anyone to watch this! So don’t force anyone not to watch it either! Pakistani viewers are smart enough to know what they want or don’t want to watch. Let the Pakistanis decide! Don’t insult their intelligence and our hard work!” she wrote using the hashtag #ReleaseJoyland.

“Joyland” became the first Pakistani film to be screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, winning the Un Certain Regard Jury Award and the Queer Palm Award.

The film was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.

On Friday, he won the Asia Pacific Screen Awards for young cinematographers, presented in collaboration with the critics’ association NETPAC and the Griffith Film School.

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