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Oscars: Pakistan lifts ban on trans love story 'Joy to the World'

Pakistan has reversed course and lifted the ban on its Oscar eligibilityJoyland , but an aide to the country’s prime minister revealed on Twitter that local censors will make some cuts from the film.

Joyland

is Pakistan’s official best submission to the Oscars International feature film category and won top honors at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The film had previously been approved for wide release in Pakistan, but just a week before its release on Friday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting reversed its decision and imposed the ban.

Written and directed by Saim Sadiq, this film tells the love story between a married man and a transgender woman in this It has sparked controversy among some conservatives in the Muslim-majority country. The ban came after a concerted social media campaign against the film, claiming it violated Pakistani and Islamic social values.

Salman Sufi, an aide to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif who has spoken out against the earlier ban, celebrated the reversal on Twitter on Wednesday: “Film #Joyland has been approved in [Prime Minister Published by a review committee established under the direction of Sharif],” he wrote. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and should be protected within the law.”

In a follow-up article, Sufi described the cuts to Joyland as “minor” She declined to elaborate on which scenes would be changed. He said the film could be released as early as Friday, its original release date.

Transgender people continue to face persecution and extreme social stigma in Pakistan despite the recent passage of a new law protecting their rights and a Supreme Court ruling designating

“Transgender people are Pakistani citizens like everyone else,” Sophie told the AP. “We have opened a hotline for their concerns as well as the Prime Minister’s office who is fully committed to their rights.”

A ban was briefly threatened Oscar chances for Joyland

, as all international feature film contenders must have at least 7 days of theatrical performances in their country of origin or similar performances outside their home country to be eligible for the Academy 2022 Awards . In response to the ban, French distributor Condor Films stepped in to say it would run a week-long qualifying release in French cinemas starting in November 18, ahead of its schedule. Released in France for a longer period of time in December.

in her Cannes Review , The Hollywood Reporter reviewer Lovia Gyarke praised the film as a “painful meditation on gender and sexuality”.

Joyland

premiered in Cannes and won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section. Film Constellation is handling the film’s international sales and owns the North American rights to WME Independent. 1235144828

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