Joyland, the first Pakistani film to be shown at Cannes, is a box office success. While just being chosen was an accomplishment in itself, the film managed to work its charm and garner a standing ovation at the premiere.
One of the film’s performers, Sarwat Gilani, described the premiere screening of Pakistan’s first entry to the Cannes Film Festival as “a dream come true.” The film, which aims to challenge gender stereotypes in Pakistan, received a long standing ovation.
“It seemed like all of the hard effort that people put in, all of the challenges that we experience as artists in Pakistan have paid off,” Gilani told Reuters on Tuesday.
Gilani, a film and television actress best known for her most recent series Churails, plays Nucchi in “Joyland,” which competes in the “Un Certain Regard” segment, a competition for more art-house films that runs concurrently with the main “Palme d’Or” prize.
Nucchi comes from a family that has long waited for the birth of a male to carry on the family line, despite her conservative father-in-dissatisfaction law’s with her three girls.
Her brother-in-law Haider, meanwhile, is secretly in love with Biba, a transgender woman fighting for the opportunity to work as a performer. When Haider’s wife Mumtaz is compelled to stay at home and do household duties after being forced to cease working as a make-up artist, Joyland addresses the frustrations of women attempting to pursue a career.
A ‘dangerous’ film
“It’s no longer only about a love story.” It’s about current events, real-life concerns that we all face,” Gilani continued. “Having a woman, a trans woman, represent that part of society, I think it’s a huge step forward in terms of saying we can write progressive stories.”
Gilani expressed her hope that “Joyland” would receive the same enthusiastic reaction in Pakistan as it did in Cannes. “I am confident that at the very least our people will see that this is a genre of film that can be successful.” “If it’s global, why not locally, nationally?” she asked. The Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 17 to 28, with the awards ceremony taking place on the last day.
Saim Sadiq, Sana Jafri, Apoorva Charan, and actors Sarwat Gillani, Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, and Rasti Farooq make up the Joyland team.
Abdullah Siddiqui, 22, is the music producer for the feature film Joyland, and has earned a name for himself in the music industry after creating the fourteenth episode of Coke Studio this year.