Filmmaker Saim Sadiq has created a memorable moment in history with his feature film joyland became the first Pakistani film to make the official selection of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The filmmaker recently attended the festival with his team and Pakistanis are full of praise for this extraordinary feat.
We’re still looking forward to the film being released locally with the hope and prayer that it doesn’t get stuck in the rut of censorship and bans. However, joyland has already won hearts and souls on the international stage. The feature film received a 10-minute standing ovation after its Monday premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The film has blown away global audiences and received overwhelmingly positive reviews since yesterday.
Videos from the evening are circulating on social media where Sadiq and the film’s cast proudly received an extended standing ovation from the audience after the feature wrapped. One of the clips also showed the young filmmaker and his crew members tearing up as they received congratulations.
— Rose Harlean (@RoseHarlean) May 23, 2022
After the screening, one of the film’s producers, Sarmad Khoosat, took to Instagram to congratulate the filmmaker and wrote, “I might be biased (of course blame me) but whatever authority I dispose, I hereby declare that there is NO better filmmaker and storyteller than my putter Saim Sadiq.
“I bawled and cried with joy and pride at the world premiere. Luckily there were no photos of me right after the screening,” he added.
Shortly after videos of the premiere went viral on Twitter, reviews began pouring in, filled with praise. The film received rave reviews from renowned film critics around the world.
Indian film critic Anupama Chopra, founder and editor of movie matetweeted: “joylandthe first Pakistani feature film to Cannes film festival, is a dazzling and provocative heartbreaker on desire. She also interviewed Saim Sadiq.
#joylandthe first Pakistani feature film to @Festival_Cannes, is a dazzling and provocative heartbreaker on desire. My conversation with writer-director Saim Sadiq. https://t.co/3QQHAfhMYB #Cannes2022
— Anupama Chopra (@anupamachopra) May 24, 2022
“joyland is a sharper, deeper, and contrary to name, more tragic exploration of femininity, masculinity, freedom, and repression,” she wrote in her review. You can read the review in detail here.
Indian film critic Namrata Joshi also tweeted praise for the film and said it reminded her of Vicky Kaushal-starring Massaanwhich premiered at the festival in 2015.
“A standing ovation for debut can be so overwhelming… Joyland is a heartbreaking tender of a film. Reminding me of ours Massaan in 2015. “
— Namrata Joshi (@Namrata_Joshi) May 23, 2022
— Namrata Joshi (@Namrata_Joshi) May 23, 2022
CNN writer Tom Page tweeted:JOYLAND — The first Pakistani film of the walking sticks The official selection will make waves. A film about loneliness, desire and self-sacrifice, Sadiq’s beautiful and gracious critique of patriarchy renounces anger, opting for a softer register, without sacrificing anything to its power.
JOYLAND — The first Pakistani film of the #Cannes The official selection will make waves. A film about loneliness, desire and self-sacrifice, Sadiq’s beautiful and gracious critique of patriarchy renounces anger, opting for a softer register, without sacrificing anything to its power.
—Tom Page (@thomas_page) May 23, 2022
Read: The Pakistani Cannes selection Joyland taken over by a European distribution company
Siddhant Adlakha said in his review for IndieWire: “
The first Pakistani film premiered at Cannes, the Un Certain Regard selection by Saim Sadiq joyland straddles a fine line between sweet and foreboding from its opening shot, in which an unseen grown man mischievously waltzes with his nieces while wrapped in a bed sheet. His life and vivacity are carefully concealed; it exists as between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Anna Smith wrote a review for Deadline.
“Land of joy has a strong sense of place, created not so much by its geographical context as by its characters. There is an eye for detail in the rituals of everyday life, whether it be family celebrations or dance group rehearsals. Mostly restrained emotionally, it packs an unexpected punch towards the film’s end, where it focuses on a deserving topic and drops another key character.
The Hollywood Reporter
Lovia Gyarkye wrote a review for The Hollywood Reporter.
joyland is a family saga, which Sadiq uses to observe how gender norms constrict, then suffocate, individuals. The Ranas feel trapped – by respectability, by family, by vague notions of honor. Bound by duty to roles they quietly question, members of this clan slowly suffer under the weight of obligations and expectations. What happens to them – individually and collectively – is a process that Sadiq’s film chronicles with painful attention.
Allan Hunter’s opinion for Daily screen declared:
“Transgression becomes a means of liberation in Joyland, A confident feature debut from writer-director Saim Sadiq that explores the tensions within a Pakistani family enslaved by outdated notions of gender and duty. Sadiq’s screenplay navigates a complex web of secrets and lies, pressures and prejudices to create a moving human drama meant to challenge narrow minds. Considered the first Pakistani film to play in Cannes, joyland should create an emotional connection with the public on the Croisette and far beyond.
Lasting 2 hours 7 minutes, joyland is a feature film in Urdu. Starring Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq, Sarwat Gilani, Sohail Sameer, Salman Peerzada and Sania Saeed, the film is directed by Saim Sadiq, who is also the screenwriter. Apoorva Charan, Sarmad Khoosat and Lauren Mann are the producers of the film. Abdullah Siddiqui composed the music.
The showbiz fraternity also took to social media to congratulate the team for bringing such honor to the country. They also expressed that they were looking forward to seeing the film. It is relevant to mention that Sadiq joyland celebrates the country’s “transgender culture”, which is a taboo subject and barely addressed in our television or film content.
joyland is the “story of sexual revolution which sees a patriarchal family yearning for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls in love with an ambitious transsexual starlet “.