CANNES: A Pakistani movie featuring a daring portrait of a transgender dancer in the country on Friday won the Cannes “Queer Palm” prize for best LGBT, “queer” or feminist-themed movie, the jury head told AFP.

Joyland by director Saim Sadiq, a tale of sexual revolution, tells the story of the youngest son in a patriarchal family who is expected to produce a baby boy with his wife but joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for the troupe’s director, a trans woman.

It is the first-ever Pakistani competitive entry at the Cannes festival where it is part of the “Un Certain Regard” segment that focuses on young, innovative cinema talent.

“It’s a very powerful film, that represents everything that we stand for,” jury head, French director Catherine Corsini said.

“Joyland will echo across the world,” Corsini said. “It has strong characters who are both complex and real. Nothing is distorted. We were blown away by this film.”

Joyland beat off several other strong entries, including Close by Belgian director Lukas Dhont and Tchaikovsky’s Wife by Kirill Serebrennikov, both hot contenders for the Cannes Festival’s top award Palme d’Or which will be announced on Saturday.

Joyland left Cannes audiences slack-jawed and admiring and got a standing ovation from the opening night’s crowd.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2022

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