Pakistan film on trans-love shortlisted for Oscar despite row at home

1 min read
A couple rides past a promotional hoarding banner of Pakistan-produced movie "Joyland" displaying outside a cinema in Lahore on November 16, 2022. Credit line: Arif ALI / AFP / Profimedia

Pakistan awoke on Thursday to realize a globally acclaimed movie on queer love from that country had been shortlisted for an Oscar despite a ban at home after a backlash by the conservative Islamic society.

“Joyland,” based on the love story of a man from a patriarchal family with a transgender dancer, became the first Pakistani movie shortlisted in the International Feature Films category.

The movie will have a competition with one film each from neighbouring India, fellow Muslim nation Morocco and Germany, among others, to win the prize in March, the Academy announced.

“Joyland” was banned by Pakistan’s government days before a scheduled screening last month, even after its premier at the Cannes Festival, where it won global awards including Queer Palm.

The ban was lifted by the country’s central film censor board, but the movie was barred from screening in the most populous central province of Punjab.

The ban comes weeks after Islamic groups forced the government to review a 2018 law that envisages several basic rights for transgender people including choosing their gender in the national identity document.

The Islamic groups argued the right to choose gender would promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer culture, something considered taboo in Pakistan along with much of the Muslim world. (dpa)

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