Pakistan bans its official Oscar entry ‘Joyland’ for ‘objectionable’ material

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.

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