Pakistani authorities have banned acclaimed director Saim Sadiq’s Oscar 2023 entry Joyland, alleging that it contains “highly objectionable material”.
The move comes months after when the film was given a clearance certificate for public viewing. The film, which was selected for Oscars 2023, has won acclaim all over the world at various film festivals.
The movie, which features a love story between a married man and a transgender woman, is Pakistan’s entry for next year’s Academy Awards and was a prizewinner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
But the film has caused controversy in Muslim-majority Pakistan and state censors last week banned its showings at movie theaters, reversing a previous all-clear for release.
According to a tweet late on Monday from Salman Sufi, an adviser to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, a high-level committee is being set up to assess “Joyland” and review the ban.
Transgender people are considered outcasts by many in Pakistan, despite some progress with a law that protects their rights and a landmark Supreme Court ruling designating them as a third gender, “The committee will assess the complaints as well as merits to decide on its release in Pakistan,” Sufi tweeted. He could not immediately be contacted for more details.