Thursday, March 02, 2023

Joyland Review

In Saim Sadiq’s 2019 short film Darling, the transgender actress Alina Khan played an aspiring dancer auditioning for a central role at a mujra theatre, only to be told by the manager, “In this theatre, the men only come to watch real girls.” To appear onstage, Khan’s character ultimately has to present herself as a male backing dancer to a female star. The strictures of gender roles in Pakistani society is a theme that Sadiq pushes further in his debut feature Joyland. Khan again stars as a mujra dancer – this time her character Biba is established as a regular attraction – but Sadiq expands his focus to take in several characters, each of whom is struggling within the bonds of familial and societal expectations.

Read the rest of my review at Sight & Sound