Amidst the bustling, yet conservative Lahore, Pakistan’s second most populous city, resides a lower middle class family of Rana. While Mumtaz, the eldest son, awaits the arrival of his fourth child, his younger brother Haider joins an erotic dance theater to sustain his marital finances. As the Rana clan hopes for a male heir to continue the patriarchal family line, Haider struggles to conceal his new occupation.

His show-biz career introduces him to Biba, an aspiring trans dancer. Gradually and unexpectedly, Haider and Biba fall into a summer affair that starts to ‘invade’ his household, exposing the conflict between passion and ethics for the whole Rana family.

Joyland, the debut feature of Saim Sadiq, is the first Pakistani film to be screened at Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize of Un Certain Regard and the Queer Palm Award. The film tackles the themes of transgender rights, patriarchy, and identity in Pakistan, where LGBTQ people face legal and social oppression. Being unprecedentedly bold and daring in the history of Pakistani cinema, Joyland is a cinematic celebration of love and desire, a de-romanticization of a coming-of-age story, and a tribute to all the women, men, and trans people who bear the human cost of patriarchy.

Saim Sadiq received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and his MFA in film directing from Columbia University. Before embarking on the creative journey of Joyland, he made several award-winning shorts, including Nice Talking To You (2018), selected at SXSW and Palm Springs and Darling (2019), the winner of Orizzonti Prize for Best Short Film at Venice Film Festival and Special Jury Mention at Toronto International Film Festival.

Red Lotus 2023

Pakistan 2022
127 Min | Color | Urdu and Punjabi with English subtitles

Directed by Saim SADIQ

Screenplay Sadim SADIQ, Maggie BRIGGS Cinematography Joe SAADE Editing Jasmin TENUCCI, Saim SADIQ Music Abdullah SIDDIQUI Production design Kanwal KHOOSAT Costume design Zoya HASSAN
Cast Ali JUNEJO, Alina KHAN, Rasti FAROOQ, Sarwat GILANI, Sohail SAMEER, Salman PEERZADA, Sania SAEED
World sales Film Constellation
Distribution in Austria Filmladen


Joyland © Film Constellation