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Joyland film image

Unemployed and living in the emasculated shadow of his father and older brother, Haider, a shy, softspoken man, eagerly accepts a job at a theatre as a backup dancer for Biba, a trans woman trying to make her way as an erotic dancer. Hiding the truth of his work from his family—who have secrets of their own—Haider gradually falls into an intimate affair with Biba. Meanwhile, his wife, Mumtaz, a skilled beautician who takes pride in her work and role as breadwinner, feels stifled and unfulfilled with Haider and his father’s expectations that she will bear him a son.

This poignant, sharply droll debut from director Saim Sadiq was the first Pakistani film at Cannes, where it won the Queer Palme Award. Joyland weaves a rich tapestry of complex characters, finding moments of intimacy and grace as it explores a patriarchal family bursting at the seams with sexual repression and buckling under cultural pressures and expectations of gender and tradition.

“Tartly funny and plungingly sad in equal measure, this is nuanced, humane queer filmmaking.” Guy Lodge, Variety

Sadiq is not lecturing us or trading in types; he is taking us by sensory surprise, and the tale that he tells is funny, forward, and sometimes woundingly sad.

Anthony Lane, New Yorker

A haunting, intricate rumination on desire, truth, and drowning.

Xuanlin Tham, Little White Lies

A film of huge heart and empathy.

Tara Brady, Irish Times


Saim Sadiq


Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq, Sarwat Gilani, Sohail Sameer, Salman Peerzada, Sania Saeed

Country of Origin





In Urdu and Punjabi with English subtitles


Winner: Best International Film – 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards; Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, 2022 Cannes Film Festival; Queer Palm – 2022 Cannes

127 min

Book Tickets

Friday June 09

6:45 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
Book Now


Executive Producer

Riz Ahmed, Ramin Bahrani, William Olsson, Jen Goyne Blake, Tiffany Boyle, Elsa Ramo, Oleg Dubson, Kathrin Lohmann, Hari Charana Prasad, Sukanya Puvvula, Owais Ahmed


Apoorva Charan, Sarmad Khoosat, Lauren Mann, Kathryn M. Moseley, Oliver Ridge, April Shih, Katharina Otto-Bernstein


Saim Sadiq


Joe Saade


Jasmin Tenucci, Saim Sadiq

Production Design

Kanwal Khoosat

Original Music

Abdullah Siddiqui