Pakistani Haider has been unemployed for a long time. Instead, he helps out in the large household formed by his elderly, traditional father, his brother's family and his own wife Mumtaz. She happily works as a beautician, but she has to give up that job when Haider himself finally finds work. He is hired by trans woman Biba to perform as a background dancer with her at an exotic nightclub. Biba exerts a great attraction on him and soon he falls in love with her; the two begin an affair. At the same time, his father demands that he should now provide (male) offspring. Consequently, when Mumtaz becomes pregnant, everyone is happy except for herself and Haider.
In his debut film, director Saim Sadiq offers surprising insights into how social relations and those between the sexes are in Pakistan, without lapsing into schematic 'good-and-evil-thinking'. The result, a nuanced and poetic story, won him the Queer Palm at Cannes, among other awards.
In the discussion prior to the film, Queer Pioneers curator Renske Diks talks to writer and journalist Haroon Ali. In 2020, the latter released his first book Half about his Pakistani heritage, his father and the search for the relationship between the different dimensions of his identity.
Please take note: this discussion will be in Dutch.