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Joyland

Usually I like to give a brief overview of the narrative of a film, what I thought worked well and what I thought didn’t. I worry that if I do that for Joyland, I’ll be at risk of seriously underplaying just how wonderful and brilliant it all is. There are some really complex themes at play here, and they’re all woven together in such an authentic and respectful way. I don’t even know where to begin because I’m so blown away by it.

There are flashings of Wong Kar Wai and Paul Thomas Anderson, but given that it’s from Pakistan it has a life all of its own too. It isn’t shy in presenting its country and culture in a light that flatters in some parts but is revealing of hidden flaws in others. Much like how it presents its characters. There’s a feeling that everyone is as much a product of their environment as they are of their own wants and desires. As a result, we get the pleasure of experiencing something very moving no matter who you find yourself relating to.

I was lucky enough to see this at its UK premiere, which included a Q&A with director Saim Sadiq and a number of its cast. What really struck me is the feeling of how important it was to them just to have made this film. Everything else, the standing ovations, it’s Oscar entry etc. is all secondary to an overwhelming sense of joy just that it exists. I think that in itself is beautiful, and actually really in keeping with what the film is.

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