‘Joyland’ Cleared For Release In Pakistan As Ban Reversed

Pakistan has reversed a ban on Joyland, the country’s official submission for the Best International Feature Oscar. The film has now been cleared for theatrical release in its home country, though some minor cuts are expected.

Salman Sufi, Head of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s Strategic Reforms, told the Associated Press the decision to lift the ban was made by a committee which approved it with minor edits. He also tweeted, “Freedom of speech is fundamental right & should be nourished within ambits of the law.”

Muhammad Tahir Hassan, head of the Censorship Office, told AFP, “There is no hindrance from (our) part of its screening.”

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Pakistan's 'Joyland' To Receive French Release To Still Qualify For Oscars Despite Local Ban

Written and directed by Saim Sadiq, Joyland is scheduled for release in Pakistan on Friday. As Deadline previously reported, it had also been set for an Oscar-qualifying run in France from November 22.

Set in Lahore, the film revolves around a Pakistani family whose youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls in love with a trans woman.

Joyland won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize in Cannes last May and was the first Pakistani movie ever in official selection at the festival. It has enjoyed a strong fest run since.

But, Pakistan’s Ministry Of Information and Broadcasting banned the movie just one week before its local theatrical release for containing “highly objectionable material.”

The Ministry appeared to be reacting to social media campaigns, circulating on Twitter and Instagram over the past few weeks, that claimed the film contravened the social values of Islam and Pakistan.

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